Media Must Stop Describing Muslim Occult Practitioners As ‘Tantriks’ And Representing Them As Saffron-Clad Sadhus

Swarajya Staff

Nov 11, 2020, 03:46 PM | Updated 03:46 PM IST

Image for representation of a Muslim occult practitioner
Image for representation of a Muslim occult practitioner
  • Media may use either ‘Muslim pir’, ‘Muslim fakir’, ‘Sufi pir’, ‘Sufi fakir’, or simply ‘occult practitioner’, ‘black magician’ or ‘sorcerer’
  • We have extensively reported on how major newspapers and portals routinely hide the names of perpetrators of crimes when they belong to the Muslim community. In most such cases reported, the media keeps the identity of the accused either hidden or simply as “minority community”.

    There is a set of crimes in which the media goes a step further and attributes them to Hindus even when they are committed by Muslims. For instance, the Muslim Sufi ‘fakirs’ who are into occult practice and black magic, are routinely passed off as “Tantriks”.

    It is common knowledge that the word ‘Tantrik’ is used to refer to a Hindu practitioner of Tantra Vidya which includes black magic. Whatever this Vidya contains, it most certainly has nothing to do with the Islamic or Sufi practices of black magic. Calling a Muslim a Tantrik is an oxymoron, similar to terms like Muslim Rabbi, Hindu Sufi, Christian Pujari and Buddhist Jew.

    One might argue that books on Muslim occult art are usually named ‘Muslim Tantra’, but even that is a misrepresentation.

    Such books begin with the Muslim holy term of Bismillah, and the chants used have no reference to Hindu deities but muslim pirs including Muhammad. See the tweet below:

    Here is a brief list of recent incidents where media has portrayed such Muslim occult practitioners as Tantriks:

    • In a recent case from Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki, Muslim occult practitioner named Mohammed Firoz and his assistant Mohammed Haneef have been arrested for making a man, Mohammed Alam, kill his daughter as a black magic remedy. Times Now used ‘Tantrik’ to describe the accused in the headline. Even Hindi newspapers like Dainik Jagrana and Amar Ujala have described the men as Tantriks.
    • In October, the Lucknow police in Hussainabad arrested a man named Mohammed Nasir aka Baba for rape. The Times of India called him a Tantrik in the headline.
    Image taken from Opindia
    Image taken from Opindia
    • In May, a Muslim maulvi and occult practitioner named Aslam Faizi was arrested for raping a woman In Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. The media not only described him as a Tantrik but also used the image of a Hindu sadhu to represent him.
    Image taken from Opindia 
    Image taken from Opindia 
    • Again in May, a Muslim occult practitioner in West Bengal was arrested for raping a childless woman promising her and her husband a child. Several publications called him a Tantrik.
    • In June, one Aslam Baba, who would kiss people’s hands claiming to cure them of Coronavirus, died. The media was covered not only by Indian media but also global publications. As this Twitter thread shows, the global publications not only hid the name of the accused but also used the image of a Hindu sadhu for representation.

    Several such news reports are glaring proof that a large section of the media deliberately chooses to refer to an Islamic cleric, Sufi black magician, Dargah Pir or a similar Islamic occultist as ‘Tantrik’, implying a Hindu.

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