Case Studies on election campaigns in India, France, and the USA by Syed Atiq ul Hassan

Syed Atiq ul Hassan

[India’s BJP leading its election campaign by using anti-Muslim card through changes in Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA); behind the slogan of liberty, equality, brotherhood Macron states in his election campaign rally highlighting the threat of Islamists and Muslim “separatists” in France; rising frequency of anti-Muslim incidents in the USA tends to escalate notably during specific political contexts, especially around election campaigns….]

Islamophobia can be seen as a top tool in elections’ campaign in world’s three major democratic countries – India, France and USA.

In recent years, the exploitation of anti-Muslim sentiment has become a prevalent strategy in election campaigns across the globe, notably in the democratic landscapes of India, France, and the USA.

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has consistently employed anti-Muslim and anti-Christian rhetoric as a cornerstone of its electioneering tactics since assuming power in 2014. Aligned with right-wing ideologies, the BJP maintains close affiliations with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary organization. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a long-time adherent of extremist Hindu philosophies since his youth involvement with the RSS in 1971, has perpetuated a politics of Hindu nationalism, fostering animosity towards Muslims. Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister in 2002 saw the tragic outbreak of anti-Muslim violence, leaving over 1,000 Muslims dead at the hands of RSS extremists. Subsequently, the RSS has operated with impunity under the BJP’s patronage, perpetrating violence against Muslims and Christians nationwide.

As the dominant political force in India’s parliamentary system, the BJP has systematically amended the Indian Constitution to disenfranchise Muslims from their social and political rights,

effectively marginalizing the country’s 20% Muslim population. This stark departure from the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, a symbol of unity and peace, highlights the BJP’s devolution into a vehicle for Hindu extremist agendas. The BJP’s anti-Muslim campaign strategy has found resonance among hardline Hindu constituencies, bolstering its electoral prospects.

Amidst the upcoming general elections in April, the BJP has reignited its anti-Muslim rhetoric by championing a controversial citizenship law, granting amnesty to illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, with the exception of Muslims. Despite claims of humanitarianism, critics argue that the law serves as a thinly veiled instrument of anti-Muslim discrimination, exacerbating social divisions and inflaming tensions.

In the United States, the nexus between anti-Muslim sentiment and electoral politics is similarly pronounced, with incidents of Islamophobic violence escalating during political cycles. Reports from the New America Foundation highlight a surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes coinciding with election periods, underscoring the politicization of religious animus.

France, too, grapples with the Specter of Islamophobia as it approaches its upcoming elections. Despite a spate of attacks and harassment targeting French Muslims and their businesses, political contenders, including President Macron, have failed to address the community’s safety concerns. Against the backdrop of the holy month of Ramadan coinciding with the presidential elections due on 24 April, French Muslims fear a lack of political representation and protection in the face of rising hostility.

In conclusion, the instrumentalization of anti-Muslim sentiment in electoral politics represents a troubling trend, undermining democratic values and perpetuating social divisions. Addressing these systemic injustices requires concerted efforts to challenge discriminatory practices and foster inclusive societies founded on principles of equality and respect for all.

Furthermore, as global powers remain complicit in the ongoing atrocities in Palestine, the plight of the Palestinian people serves as a stark reminder of the failure to uphold principles of justice and human rights. The indiscriminate violence perpetrated by Israeli forces against innocent civilians underscores the urgent need for international intervention and solidarity.

(The writer is a Sydney-based journalist, political analyst, writer and a commentator. He editor-in-chief Tribune International (Australia). His email is ).


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