Helpful or racist? #TalkToAMuslim campaign leaves Twitter divided
The intention was seemingly noble. In a bid to start a campaign against the rising Islamophobia in the country, some Twitterati kicked off the #TalkToAMuslim trend. It was possibly a spin-off of Rahul Gandhi's Twitter response on being accused of "minority appeasement".
The #TalkToAMuslim trend soon picked a pace and went viral. The agenda behind it was simple; just like opening up and talking to a friend when need be, "engage in a conversation" with a Muslim person to "know them better" and avoid making stereotypical assumptions.
The campaign was welcomed by many, commoners and celebrities alike. Actors Swara Bhaskar, Gauhar Khan, writer Rana Safvi, etc joined in to lend their support.
#TalkToAMuslim seriously didnt think a day would come where talking to a muslim leader or a commoner would question ur patriotism or ur belief in ur own faith!!by land I am a Hindu ,by faith I am a Muslim and by heart n soul INDIAN is my identity !!! #killThehate #spreadlove pic.twitter.com/kiXaHNmplAGauahar Khan (@GAUAHAR_KHAN) July 17, 2018
I'm an Indian MuslimRana Safvi ???? ???? (@iamrana) July 17, 2018
I have fun,
I enjoy life
I can talk to you on Shakespeare, Ghalib, Meerabai, the Mughals and the First war of Indian independence
Of Muslim contribution to freedom struggle
Come talk to me#TalkToAMuslim #TalktoaMuslim pic.twitter.com/4qE6gP7nAQ
However, not all saw this hashtag as a source of rainbows and unicorns. A section of the Twitterati took massive offence to it, their point being that the campaign "compartmentalises a race", and hence, is "racist".
If you think you need to #TalkToAMuslim, don't come near me.Omair Ahmad (@OmairTAhmad) July 17, 2018
If you can't see another human being without seeing their 'identity' (race, caste, gender, whatever), you are the problem.
Today its #TalkToAMuslim. Tomorrow it would be #TalkToADalit. And then #TalkToAWoman. After which #TalkToNonYadavOBCs. If you need to be told to talk to other human beings to deal with your hate & paranoia, the problem rests only with you. Thats why I advocate #TalkToAShrink.Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) July 17, 2018
Completely flaggerbasted by the #TalkToAMuslim hashtag. It imbues TALKING to muslims with a stigma that never was, and is patronizing as heck. I'd imagine people with friends of different religions including Islam are quite taken aback by this and unsure what it attempts to fix.Narasinga (@syrinje) July 17, 2018
Having Twitter divided and armchair-fighting on a topic is not something new, in fact it's something quite done to death. The problem that remains after this trend dies down is the communal disharmony.