The Israeli-Palestinian conflict sparked anti-Muslim prejudice in India


Marwa Fatifa’s gestures flooded on Twitter.

As violence escalated in Israel and Palestine earlier this month, Fatafa, a Palestinian who works as a political analyst for an online research center focusing on Palestinian human rights in Berlin, posted photos and stories about families killed in the Gaza Strip to her. 14000 followers. In response, she was phished. Some of the hate speech, which described the Palestinians like “terrorists”, came from far-right Israeli accounts. But many seem to be from India – Fatafta said their usernames have Indian names and the Indian flag.

“It looked like all these ethno-nationalists from India and Israel had come together,” Fatafta told BuzzFeed News. It was an amazing phenomenon. I had never been phished by people from India before. “

As bloody the Israeli army violence 248 Palestinians were killed Hamas killed 13 Israelis, which ended with the ceasefire and hate speech against Jews over the Internet Has risenSo is anti-Semitism violence.

But the conflict has also sparked an online wave of hate speech and disinformation against Muslims around the world. Full-page advertisement in the New York Times Accused Pop star Dua Lipa and models Gigi and Bella Hadid are anti-Semitic. Last week, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group, Manages Facebook ads Which imposed the face of Representative Ilhan Omar on Hamas rockets with Actually inaccurate Caption: “When Israel targets Hamas, MP Omar describes it as an act of terrorism.” The official Twitter account in Arabic in Israel Angered the Muslims By tweeting verses from the Quran with a photo of an Israeli air strike on Gaza (this tweet has since been deleted).

This conflict in the Middle East could lead to waves of hatred and lies against Muslims is nothing new. But what’s new is the source: India. In the world’s largest democracy, hatred against Muslims is steadily prevalent, both online and offline. Just a year ago, politicians from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party as well as dozens of news channels Assembly charged From Tablighi Jamaat, an international Islamic missionary group, intentionally publishes Corona Virus In India after more than 4000 cases Were linked to her. At the time, #CoronaJihad was one of the hottest topics on Twitter in the region.

On Saturday, First Draft News, a UK-based nonprofit looking into misinformation, Published Analysis of more than 300,000 tweets related to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. They found a campaign containing thousands of tweets and hashtags that appeared to have originated in India, one of the main markets for Twitter.

“While analyzing the tweets, we noticed that the top hashtags always contained some Indian references,” Carlotta Dotto, First Draft’s chief data journalist, told BuzzFeed News. “It was amazing.”

Dotto focused on #UnitedAgainstJehad, a deliberately misspelled hashtag that was mentioned more than 40,000 times by nearly 6,000 accounts between May 12 and May 17. Coordinated campaign It aims to get it heading in the direction, accompanied by metaphors about Muslims that Indian Hindu nationalists have released for years – such as The love of jihadIt is an unfounded conspiracy theory accusing Muslim men of converting Hindu women to Islam through marriage. Ten percent of the accounts using the hashtag were created in May.

“It was clear that they were using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to promote their own accounts on Twitter in India and around the world given the amount of attention they were getting online,” Doto said.

Although India had previously tended to avoid becoming involved in the region, relations between India and Israel improved dramatically under Modi, who became the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 2017. This is partly because the leaders of the two countries are nationalists. Governors. In addition, right-wingers in India depend on the long-running rivalry between their country and neighboring Pakistan.

“The right wing in India sees Israel as great for a multitude of reasons,” Jensi Jacob, managing editor of Boom, a leading Indian fact-checking organization, told BuzzFeed News. “It is a small country surrounded by Muslim neighbors that it fights, and it has a strong leader who is focused on protecting its borders.”

Jacob added, “When there is tension between an Islamic country and any other country, the extreme right-wing ecosystem gravitates towards everyone on the non-Muslim side.” “For them, it is a natural aggression that underscores all their prejudices toward Muslims in general.”

Members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their supporters have taken advantage of the conflict. Tajinder Pal Singh Baja, BJP Spokesperson, call Islam is a “virus” that was “generating terrorism in the world” and he said: “Israel is a vaccine for this virus, please support Israel.” he is too claimed Muslims believe that “religion is greater than the nation.” All of Baqa’s Tweets got thousands of Retweets and Likes. Hundreds of messages defaming Muslims have also been sent via WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging app used by hundreds of millions of Indians.

Most #IndiaStandWithIsrael Tweet handles verified, chirp Rana Ayyub, a high-profile Indian journalist, has been frequently targeted by supporters of Modi’s far-right. “The common denominator that passes through the deep hatred of Muslims and bloodshed to see Muslims slaughter and show their place.”

As guards inside Israel Struggled to keep up With hatred and lies abounding, it wasn’t easy for their overseas counterparts. Boom, for example, has almost fact-checked Twenty storiesSome of them painted the Palestinians as faking their plight.

“It has become one of our big topics,” Jacob told BuzzFeed News.

One of the pieces of wrong information Falsely photographed A mock funeral organized in 2020 by Jordanian youth to evade closures due to the Coronavirus, as the Palestinians falsify the funeral of “international sympathy.” Another viral clip I tried to pass A 2017 news report by Palestinian beauty artists as Palestinian residents visit casualties during the current conflict

“The repression crosses borders,” said Fatata. “Islamophobia is the common denominator here.”

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