Thursday, April 18, 2024

‘Kerala govt’s Islamophobia’: Muslim bodies decry depiction of Muslims in school festival

An inaugural musical at Kerala State School Art Festival depicting Muslims as terrorists has sparked outrage in Kerala, with Muslim bodies calling out Kerala government’s “blatant Islamophobia.”

On inaugural day of festival, the artists staged a visual performance depicting a Muslim man wearing a religious white cap as a terrorist caught by army personnel. The festival, in which more than 10,000 students from across the 14 districts of the State will compete in 239 events on 24 stages, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a function which was attended by a host of ministers, the Speaker of the Kerala Assembly, as well as MLAs.

The show directed by Malayalam Theatrical Heritage & Arts in association with Matha Perambra showed the Indian army apprehending a terrorist who had shot dead a solider in the initial act. The terrorist was shown as a rifle-wielding man sporting a Keffiyeh (a traditional Arab head gear worn by men).

Muslim Youth League leader PK Firos demanded strict action against the authorities who are responsible for this Islamophobic depiction of Muslims.

“Education minister should apologise,” Firos said.

Kerala government should seek an explanation from the state education department director in the matter, demanded Muhammadali Kinaloor, leader of SYS.

He also took to social media to launch a fresh attack against CPI(M) MLA Thottathil Raveendran, who approved the skit during its rehearsal.

Many including Muhammadali pointed out that Satheesh Babu, a sympathiser of Hindu militant group RSS was the main organiser of the skit.

“This is Islamophobia,” he said.

According to Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) Kerala unit, the latest incident is not an isolated one.

“The pro-hindutva stances of the director and the artists are very evident in their social media profiles. Choosing this team for the inaugural ceremony of a very important event in Kerala is very suspicious. Chief Minister keeping mum despite watching the program live is arousing doubts regarding the aims of the program,” SIO state committee said.

Muslim woman activist Fathima Thahiliya, who is also a lawyer, has claimed that CPM MLA Thottathil Ravindran had seen the rehearsal. “It is unsurprising that he did not find the musical to be Islamophobic. He was earlier invited to the BJP by its leader K Surendran,” Thahiliya wrote in her Facebook page.

Senior Muslim League leader and former education minister PK Abdu Rabb and other leaders took to social media to criticise the left government over the controversial depiction of Muslims in a state government sponsored event.

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