Examining Anti-Muslim Narratives in India during the Covid-19 Pandemic
This article argues that during the Covid-19 pandemic in India, anti-Muslim narratives and disinformation were disseminated through mass media, social media and statements of government leaders. This led to the spread of Islamophobia, as indicated by the use of ‘Corona Jihad’ as a neologism during the pandemic. As a result, Muslims and Muslim organisations such as the Tablighi Jamaat were scapegoated and blamed for spreading Covid cases. They were targeted through hate speeches, socio-economic boycott campaigns and arrests by police. While several writings (quoted in this article) have explained and critiqued the notion of ‘Corona Jihad’, this article argues that ‘Corona Jihad’ is one of the many iterations of jihad depicted by Hindu nationalists in Islamophobic conspiracy beliefs against Muslims. These narratives of jihad are symptomatic of the essentialisation of Indian Muslims as the internal enemy of the Indian state.