Foreign Policy on the export of India’s Islamophobia to Nepal

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Nepal has a spotless history of communal violence against minority Muslims. They constitute 4 percent of the Nepali population and have built strong communities there.

For long Nepal was under the shadow of the monarchy. It was only in 2006, that Nepal disbanded monarchical rule and became a secular country.

But now with the coronavirus, India’s Hindu nationalist fundamentalists and its Islamophobic media are pushing hatred to Nepal through popular Indian news channels and social media.

Stories about Muslims infecting rupee bills with the virus by licking it are doing rounds in Nepal. Foreign Policy reported that Indian news media, in particular, have been spewing hatred against Muslims in Nepal. A discourse is being spread into the Himalayan nation that Pakistan might have sent coronavirus-infected Muslim men to India via Nepal.

In the popular narrative, this has been termed as “corona-jihad.” With this many Nepal’s Muslims are worried about the rise in Islamophobia as it is has been prompted in India.

Many hope that the majority of Nepalis might continue to reject the attempts to whip up hatred against Muslims as they have been doing it in the past. To date, there has been no physical assault reported on Muslims.

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