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'Being a Muslim in this Country and Facing this Every Day is not Funny'

Sabrang India |
Says a Muslim student as his professor allegedly made a joke about Muslims being terrorists, in a classroom full of students
'Being a Muslim in this Country and Facing this Every Day is not Funny'

A video has surfaced on social media showing a visibly irked Muslim student raising his voice against an Islamophobic joke cracked by his Professor during a lecture. While the “joke” was not  caught on camera, the student’s reaction makes it clear that it had something to do with Muslims being terrorists.

The student can be seen defending himself and telling the professor that he cannot speak about Muslim in such a derogatory manner and the professor seemed flustered and was apologizing seeing that the student got offended by his “joke”. The student said, “it’s not funny, 26/11 was not funny, Islamic terrorism is not funny. Being a Muslim in this country and facing this everyday is not funny.”

When the professor said, you are just like my son, the student responded, “ will you talk to your son like that and call him a terrorist? How can you call me like that in front of so many people, in the class. You are a professional you are teaching. You can’t call me like that.” The professor sounded clearly embarrassed and said sorry to which the student, “Sir, sorry doesn’t change the way you think or how you portray yourself”.

While users on Twitter are claiming that the incident took place in Manipal university, the same could not be verified.

This incident is nothing but a depiction of casual Islamophobia in our everyday discourse that we need to address and speak up against. Casual Islamophobia can take a form of stereotyping, avoiding buying goods from Muslim vendors/shops, socially distancing from Muslims, making jokes about Muslims and their culture in private circles, depicting Muslims as “villains” in popular culture, using the ‘go to Pakistan’ or ‘love jihad’ trope casually, are all subtle forms of Islamophobia that one needs to speak against.

The fact that this professor felt that it was acceptable to crack some joke about Muslim being terrorists in a classroom setting is reflective of how, we as a society, have normalized laughing at the expense of Muslim community without realizing how precarious it can be, as one can end up hurting religious sentiments; which is not only an offence under the Indian Penal Code but also stand to erode our culturally diverse society.

Newsclick adds

The Director of Public Relations SP Kar acknowledged to TNM, that the incident took place at the Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), adding that the institution condemned the behaviour of the lecturer. “He has been barred from taking any further classes. An enquiry team has been formed to probe the incident,” he told The News Minute.

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