More woke than most, online streaming giant Netflix has received its taste of secularism in India after radical Islamists on the realms of social media platforms demanded strict action against the company for publishing verses from the Quran in the promotional poster for its show ‘Nava Rasa’. Leading the charge in the movement was the Raza Academy which is notorious for pushing a radical idea of Islam while claiming to promote Islamic beliefs through publications and research.
A portion of the Quran features in the background of the poster made for the web series ‘Nava Rasa’, a Tamil series produced by Mani Ratnam, the director of the famous 90s film Roja, and Jayendra Panchapakesan.
In protest, the Raza Academy tweeted, “Netflix has published a verse of the Quran in the advertisement of its film NavaRasa in Daily Thanthi newspaper, This is an insult to the Quran. We demand strict action against @NetflixIndia”
Taking the cue, other rabid Islamists also joined in the movement and started demanding action against Netflix. Abuses started flowing freely against Netflix as the platform was called ‘Children of Haram’ and ‘h*r*mzada’
Freedom of Expression in India is a slippery slope. After this brush with reality, the likes of Netflix will come to realise how tolerant Hindus are when it comes to creative liberty, which the woke executives of the platform take for granted when publishing Hinduphobic content.
It is simply a poster and yet the Islamists are gunning for banning the platform. One can only imagine the backlash if and when the show comes out with any minuscule content targeting Muslims.
Raza Academy, the organisation in the midst of the controversy has had numerous such rendezvous in the past. In October 2020, Raza Academy threatened to file a case against the Maharashtra government if they did not give permission to carry out the Eid-e-Milad procession.
Similarly, the Academy had urged the Muslim countries to issue a fatwa against French President Emmanuel Macron for supporting free speech. As reported by TFI, Macron had talked about how the Muslims in France were trying to create a “parallel society” and promoting “Islamic Separatism” within the country.
“A parallel order, to erect other values, develop another organisation of society, separatist at first, but whose final goal is to take control. And this is what makes us reject freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, the right to blasphemy,” said Macron in a speech delivered a few days before the beheading of Samuel Paty by Islamists.
As mentioned, 47-year old Samuel Paty was beheaded by Islamists for allegedly showing students, cartoons of Prophet Muhammad and asking Muslim students to leave the class, if they felt uncomfortable. Earlier, Charlie Hebdo, a satirical news website in France was attacked by radical Islamists for displaying a cartoon on Prophet Mohammad. The terrorists identified themselves as belonging to the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda killed 12 people while injuring 11 others.
In February, the Mumbai-based Raza Academy even forced the champion of the left-liberal brigade in upholding the journalistic integrity, the mighty BBC, to go down on its hunches and apologise. After a complaint was registered against the media organisation for ‘hurting’ the sentiments of Muslims by disrespecting Prophet Mohammed in one of their shows, BBC tendered an unconditional apology.
Iqbal Ahmed, a BBC employee was heard in an audio recording apologizing on behalf of BBC which went viral on social media platforms. He stated, “We profusely apologise for depicting such an image on our show that hurt sentiments of many. The BBC has also decided to remove the objectionable contents from the video, and we are ready to accept any of your demands.”
Raza Academy had also demanded a ban on the Iranian movie ‘Muhammad: The Messenger of God’ for portraying the Prophet in a bad light. And like a subservient slave, the Uddhav Thackeray government wilted and banned the release of the controversial film citing it to be ‘blasphemous’.
As also reported by TFI in April this year, in a shocking turn of events, which once again showed the level of intolerance Islamists harbour even for moderate Muslims — a library set up by a daily-wage labourer in 2011 was set on fire by narrow-minded Muslims late at night.
The owner of the library – Syed Issaq, a 62-year-old moderate Muslim man who attempted to popularise Kannada and eradicate hatred for the regional language was distraught, as his life’s work was reduced to ashes, by brethren’s from his own community.
Similarly, after the Excise Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir last year proposed to set up liquor shops across the Union Territory on 183 locations, Islamists came out in numbers to oppose the move on religious lines as if Kashmir was a sovereign Sharia state within the Union of India.
In the midst of a pandemic, the #Indian government finds it an utmost priority to identity 67 locations in #Kashmir where they plan to set up liquor shops. Making liquor widely available is another attempt to humiliate Kashmiri Muslim sentiments & attract non-Muslim settlers pic.twitter.com/cPCIXZ4KS2
It must be remembered that consumption of alcohol is haram in Islam, and this particular tenet was forming the crux of majority of the opposition which the move is facing. However, J&K is a part of India and other than Muslims, people of all faiths reside there.
Islamists coming after anyone talking about their Prophet or their religion is not a new phenomenon. Before cancel culture even existed, Islamists were baying for the blood of those that spoke anything against their faith. Salman Rushdie, the Man Booker Prize winner, found it the hard way when he was cancelled by Islamists and was threatened with his life for publishing the novel, ‘The Satanic Verses’.
Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy or unbelief and in 1989 the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie. Numerous killings, attempted killings, and bombings resulted in response to the novel.
While the most offended resort to online platforms and file petitions, the highly motivated Islamists go to uncharted and untoward lengths to make their demands heard. Raza Academy is just a tiny manifestation of the larger ideology at work.