In an incident of hateful sloganeering, the anti-CAA protesters were seen chanting “In Kafiron se Azadi” in Odisha’s Bhubaneshwar.
In the video going viral, a man can be seen raising slogan, “Hum leke rahenge Aazadi. In Kafiron se Azadi” with the crowd in support.
Kaffir is an Arabic term used to refer to those who do not believe in Allah or Islam. While scholars have historically disagreed on whether to apply the term to other “people of the book” - Christians and Jews - there has been a consensus that a polytheist is a kafir.
In their memoirs on invasions in India, enslavement and plunder, the Muslim invaders used the term Kafir for Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, many historians have noted.
Raziuddin Aquil states that "non-Muslims were often condemned as kafirs, in medieval Indian Islamic literature, including court chronicles, Sufi texts and literary compositions" and fatwas were issued that justified persecution of the non-Muslims.
Another interesting piece of history associated with the word kaffir is of African slave-trade.
The Islamic law - Sharia - allowed slavery but prohibited enslaving pre-existing Muslims. Therefore, the main target for slavery became the people who lived in the frontier areas of the Muslim world.
Bernard Lewis notes that "polytheists and idolaters were seen primarily as sources of slaves, to be imported into the Islamic world and moulded in Islamic ways, and, since they possessed no religion of their own worth the mention, as natural recruits for Islam."
By the modern period, slaves came mostly from Africa.
The Muslim slave traders used the term kafir for native non-Muslim Africans, who were captured and sold to Europeans. The Europeans adopted the same word to refer to the Blacks, and the word acquired a racial aspect.
The word "kafir" came to be used for all dark-skinned South African tribes, and is currently regarded as a racial slur offensive to Blacks in South Africa.
Yesterday, another video clip was released where the anti-CAA protesters were singing a Faiz poem with the line “All idols will be removed.. only Allah’s name will remain”. IIT Kanpur and Jamia Milia Islamia both witnessed the singing of the above poem.
The controversy on the Faiz poem rages on. While one group of the people assert that it is a poem sung by Iqbal Bano to protest against military dictatorship in Pakistan, others argue that it is causal bigotry in the garb of such ‘resistance poetry’ which normalises the Hindu hatred.