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‘Hatred against Hindus does not shock people’

Treated as ‘oppressors’, British Hindus face bullying, hatred, bigotry & slurs. Teaching on Hinduism with prejudice & colonial mind set


Charlotte Littlewood

Research I conducted last year for the Henry Jackson Society study found a 173 per cent increase in anti-semitic incidents in UK schools over the past five years. With the more general rise in anti-semitism a regular headline, what was almost more shocking than the research was just how little it shocked people.


This year, we have looked into the experiences of Hindu pupils and found that 51 per cent of Hindu parents surveyed said their child had faced anti-Hindu hate in schools. Where are the protesters against this intolerance?

Why is it that in an age of supposed anti-racism, attacks on both the longest standing victims of race hate and a people held under British colonial rule for hundreds of years draw so little concern?

David Baddiel’s thesis rings true: Jews don’t count because they are not the right kind of victim. Contemporary anti-semitism draws on centuries-old bigotry that depicts them as “too rich” and “too powerful”. Now it seems this idea has barred another group of victims from victimhood: Hindus. For sections of the left, the world is divided into the “oppressor” and “oppressed”. Should you fall into the oppressor class you are everything that should be opposed and can never be a victim? Jews are viewed as white and powerful, imperialist and establishment, therefore deemed not able by definition to face racism and incapable of being victims. Hindus, it seems, have joined them.

Last summer, more than 600 people took to the streets of Leicester in violent protest against alleged “Hindutva”, a term unfamiliar to many. To some it means Hindu nationalism, to others simply outward expression of “Hinduness”. While Muslim and Hindu youths had fought in what looked like gang-style territorial violence, there was little evidence of any political nationalist allegiances with India.

Instead, concern over Hindu extremism lead to threats to find Hindus and “chop them up”, to “chase Hindus out of Leicester like they were chased out of Kashmir”, vandalism of vehicles and homes that displayed Hindu symbols and attacks on Hindu temples — all while the majority of mainstream media seemed to comment on any aspect other than Hindu-hate.

Despite the evidence pointing towards youth gang violence dressed up as “Hindtuva” terrorism, reporting on the unrest in Leicester either endorsed the notion of “Hindutva” by giving a voice to key Islamist activists, or ignored the specific issues in Leicester by discussing nationalism on the subcontinent.

Mohammed Hijab, for example, who declared at a pro-Palestine rally in 2021 that “we love death” and rallied the crowds in Leicester with anti-Hindu slurs, referring to them as “violent vegetarians” and declaring he was leading a Muslim patrol, was interviewed on Channel 4.

The reporter described him as an influencer with conservative views. The results of our study showed parents reporting their children to have experienced anti-Hindu hate, with cases ranging from having beef thrown at them to physical assaults, being held accountable for politics in India and the caste system and being told the bullying will stop when they convert to Islam.

But despite such harrowing case studies, less than one per cent of British schools have reported any form of anti-Hindu bullying incidents in the last five years.

This particular form of hatred appears poorly understood and is at times fed by teachers with substandard and prejudicial colonialist teachings on Hinduism.

Similar accusations have, of course, been made on teaching about Israel and Palestine in schools and a lack of consistent understanding and approach to defining antisemitism.

The British Hindu community has joined the Jews in not being fit for victimhood. The perceived economic success of the community, the relative lack of engagement in issuing critiques against the West — indeed, enthusiastic embrace of it with a Hindu prime minister — bars Hindus from the class of the oppressed.

India’s growing relationship with Israel has led far-left activists to associate Hindutva with Zionism, the death knell for leftist victim support.

It is an uphill battle but we must challenge at every opportunity this narrative of “oppressed” and “oppressor” classes, which underlie antisemitic and anti-Hindu frameworks of thinking — or risk seeing intolerance and extremism continue on their upward trajectory.

(Charlotte Littlewood is a researcher at the Henry Jackson Society. This article was first published in London-based The Jewish Chronicle)

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