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Islamophobia International Conference held by Solidarity

A three-day Islamophobia International Conference, held at University of Calicut- Malappuram, came to a close on 19th December 2016. 25 academic papers were presented in the conference organized by Solidarity Youth Movement Kerala.

CMP general secretary and Ex-planning commission board member CP John delivered the keynote address. In his speech CP John criticized the dubious nature of society of Kerala. “People of Kerala are Islamophobes and they hide it beneath the nails. Islamophobia has become a fixation for the people and even the left politics is not relieved from this obsession. That is why the Kerala society could not tolerate five Muslim ministers”, CP John said.

“Just like casteism, Islamophobia is also a character of public sphere of Kerala. It is most visible in the collectives where Muslims are absent. Racist jokes are common. Muslims are always subjected to criticisms. Erstwhile, they were blamed for their illiteracy and menial jobs. Nowadays they are criticized for their financial stability and education. Healthy discussions are inevitable to defend the menace of Islamophobia. A society which approves the Muslim society is important with regard to the future of Kerala”, CP John said.

MT Ansari, Professor of Hyderabad Central University presided over the session. He said that the conference is a step towards shifting a subject from academic debates into the space of civil society. Solidarity state president T. Shakir said, causes for the controversies and hubbubs raised in connection to ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Fifth minister’ is to be examined within the contours of Islamophobia.

Prof. PK Pokker, Kadakkal Ashraf and others talked in the inaugural session. K. Ashraf - Research fellow of Johannesberg University, Dr. Varsha Bashir-Research fellow at Berkley University, PK Sadiq – research fellow at EFLU, Hyderabad presented papers in the session.

Constitutional rights of muslims are being hampered through new laws and administrative steps, said Prof. A.K. Ramakrishnan, of Jawaharlal Nehru University, while taking part in the panel discussion held at the second day of the conference. “India has a long history of Islamophobia. The national conscience of India was evolved by rejecting the involvement of Islam and Muslims. Casteism and neoliberal policies have took up the problem of nationalism to a new level. To overcome this problem, along with political interventions, cultural interventions are also needed”, Prof. Ramakrishnan said.

Professor MT Ansari opined that history of Islamophobia in Kerala has its roots to the age of Portueguese colonizers. The socio-political content of Islam was the problem for the concerned people. K.K. Baburaj, K.P. Salwa, Dr. B.S. Sherin Assistant Professor of EFLU, K.K. Suhail, E.S. Suhail, Ummul Fayiza, Mohammed Shuaib and others presented papers.

Dr. B.S. Sherin pointed out matter of hypocrisy in the liberal arguments. He asked why those people who are vocal for Muslim women in the issue of Mutalaq fell silent while Muslim women were victims of Gujarat genocide.

Solidarity state secretary Samad Kunnakavu said that even the left politics and its leadership have internalized the Islamophobic characters. Solidarity state committee member Shaheen K. Moidunni presided over the session.

Dr. K.S. Madhavan, senior lecturer at University of Calicut, presided over the session held afternoon. Interfaith dialogue secretary V.A.M Ashraf, research fellow Mohammed Shah, Tahir Jamal and others presented papers. Media analyst Dr. Yaseen Ashraf, Journalist KP Sethunath, Shabab Editor Mujeeb Rahman Kinaloor and others took part in the discussion.

In the session, ‘Islamophobia in historiography’, IPH Asst. Director KT Hussain, V. Hikmathullah, Shaheen K. Moidunni, Welfare party state committee member T. Mohammed Velom, Jamaate Islami state secretary Shihab Pookkottur and others took part.

Jamaate Islami Kerala Amir MI Abdul Azeez inaugurated the closing session of the conference. “There is a constant effort to put Muslims in fear. At the global level, a conscious effort is on, to spread Islamophobia under the auspices of imperialism. In India it is done under the supervision of Sanghparivar. Media also support these efforts by spreading baseless news. Love Jihad and other controversies are instances in this regard. There is a dangerous situation where people are reluctant to accept a muslim name. The society should nurture and grow to identify the situation and defend it effectively. Emancipatory content of Islam is the reason for being haunted,” MI Abdul Azeez said. He also called the Muslim community to put up maximum efforts to be exemplary as a community in all spheres of life.

AP Abdul Wahab, Chairman-Minority development corporation, Dr. Fasal Gafoor, K. Ambujakshan Welfare Party national secretary, O. Abdurahman -Madhyamam-MediaOne group editor, Sheikh Mohammed Karakunnu –Asst. Ameer Jamaate Islami Kerala, CT Suhaib – president-elect of SIO Kerala, GIO state secretary Fasna Miyan and others talked. Solidarity general secretary Sadiq Uliyil welcomed all and Miyandad, district president, Solidarity Malappuram gave a vote of thanks. 

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