'Sulli Deals' to Love Jihad: Why Community Leaders Stay Silent
It is baffling that no community leader has spoken out against 'Sulli Deals', or stood by the harassed Muslim women.
(This opinion article is part of The Quint's coverage on gendered violence and Islamophobia overlaps as reflected in incidents like setting up a digital app like Sulli Deals. Other articles can be accessed here and here.)
(This story was first published on 12 July 2021 and is being republished from The Quint's archives to mark one year since the anti-conversion law in Uttar Pradesh came into effect.)
A gut-wrenching app called 'Sulli Deals' – by a Hindu radical group – used photographs of Muslim women, without their knowledge. Once you open the app, you will be asked, ”Find you Sulli of the Day."
Sulli is a derogatory term used for Muslim women.
The Delhi Police has registered an FIR against an unnamed group and GitHub, where this app was hosted, has taken it down.
Soon enough, a Twitter handle of one Javed Sheikh came into the limelight for posting nude pictures of Hindu girls. Many people on the platform reported it and the account has since been suspended. Reddit also contains many such nauseating handles which target women from both communities.
The 'Sulli Deals' controversy has taken the nation by storm with a majority of netizens standing by the girls featured and supporting them. But what is baffling is that no community leader or prominent person has spoken against it, or stood by the Muslim women.
Why No Condemnation From Muslim Leaders
I will tell you why.
Because in the Muslim community if you solely rely on religious leaders, you are doomed.
Misinterpretations of various ayets of the Quran are used to intimidate women, who are physically and emotionally assaulted and made to bear a number of children against their will.
In their public speeches, they justify having four wives and innumerable concubines and also debauch young minds by luring them in with the concept of 72 hoors, in the afterlife, if they behave the way these mullahs ask them to.
So, when mullahs themselves propagate such a theory and their own homes are filled with filth, how can they speak or take a stand for the girls of their community?
As one woman Bohra lawyer, who was immediately divorced because she rejected female genital mutilation of her girl child, says "behind the long beards and longer hijabs lie the dirtiest of deeds".
Hindu Women at the Mercy of Fanatics & 'Godmen'
The travails of Hindu women are no less, they, too, have been misused and violated by gurus, babas and tantriks ('godmen') in the name of religion.
A very eminent guru is known to have a new woman for himself every sunset and sunrise. Childless women, unmarried, and divorcees are the easiest prey. They are then used to bring in the others – the naïve and unassuming. Even young girls, who have not even reached puberty, are targeted. There are many malpractices, mainly physical, that they put women through for a son.
Religious fanatics go on to the streets targeting young couples under the guise of the much-misused 'love jihad' concept. They then come back to assault and abuse their own women, to satiate their never ending lust.
Exploiting their vulnerabilities, these fanatics make women in India easy targets for hate and sex crimes. The internet has given them a platform to misuse and malign girls, to intimidate, and threaten them.
'You threaten, abuse and vilify ours, we’ll do the same to you' – seems to be the motto.
Without support, candlelight marches and protests at Jantar Mantar, these women have been forced to stand up for themselves, to expose the predators and file FIRs.
Don't Mess With the New-age Indian Woman
This new age Indian woman who is strong willed, independent, fearless and highly opinionated is now a force to reckon with. From the ashes, she has risen not to be messed with again.
Men can proudly keep a topi (cap) or a teeka (vermillion) on their heads for their political gains but never stand with a woman who has been used and abused by them for centuries.
The next time you see them sermonising on TV or at public functions, dig a little deeper to find out how many women they have played with and destroyed. Imagine the plight of their own when they don’t have mercy on the outsiders. But not anymore.
Don’t take our kindness for our weakness, we may not come with heavy-duty surnames but together we are strong enough to deal with lechers like you and teach you a lesson. We will no longer be your victims, we are the warrior women of India, who will hit you hard where it hurts the most. So, think a thousand times before you throw filth at us.
(The author is an Army wife, writer & founder of The Changemakers, an organisation fostering social and economical development of ex-soldiers, war widows and orphans. This is a personal blog, and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
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