Several Indians are urging people to speak with the country's Muslims. Here's what triggered the hashtag.
It started when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) targeted the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi for calling his Congress a "Muslim party," during a meeting with Muslims leaders and activists.
BJP quoted an Urdu daily Inquilab – which reported the meeting on July 12 – and accused Gandhi of oft-repeated Muslim appeasement to garner minority votes ahead of the 2019 national election.
The Congress leader and the Urdu newspaper rubbished BJP claims, but the politics over the Hindu-Muslim divide in India culminated on Tuesday in a hashtag #TalktoAMuslim.
#TalkToAMuslim seriously didn’t think a day would come where talking to a muslim leader or a commoner would question ur patriotism or ur belief in ur own faith!!by land I am a Hindu ,by faith I am a Muslim and by heart n soul INDIAN is my identity !!! #killThehate #spreadlove pic.twitter.com/kiXaHNmplA— Gauahar Khan (@GAUAHAR_KHAN) July 17, 2018
Since India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power last year, the country's Muslims have expressed growing concerns about a spate of inflammatory statements made by Hindu nationalist leaders and activists.
Hindu activists have in recent years held what they call large "ghar wapsi," or homecomings, to convert people to Hinduism.
Groups of Hindu vigilantes have grabbed headlines for assaulting or lynching Muslims accused of harming cows, an animal held sacred in Hinduism.
On Tuesday, India's Supreme Court asked the government to enact a new law and stem what it called "horrendous acts" of lynching in India.
Muslims aren't the demons or unspeakables they are portrayed out to be. We're humans too, and you can talk to us. You can talk to me.#TalkToAMuslim @ReallySwara @WajahatJilani pic.twitter.com/2xSESmcCXT— Ansab Amir Khan (@ansabtastic) July 17, 2018
I'm an Indian Muslim— Rana Safvi رعنا राना (@iamrana) July 17, 2018
I have fun,
I enjoy life
I can talk to you on Shakespeare, Ghalib, Meerabai, the Mughals and the First war of Indian independence
Of Muslim contribution to freedom struggle
Come talk to me#TalkToAMuslim #TalktoaMuslim pic.twitter.com/4qE6gP7nAQ
If you think that Muslims aren't feeling persecuted— Nazia Erum (@nazia_e) July 17, 2018
If you think Muslims aren't fed up of being the national conversation every night at 9pm bulletins
If you think Muslims don't feel otherized, demonized & marginalized
Then you need to talk
I am an Indian Muslim#TalkToAMuslim
So far as the government is concerned, there is only one holy book, which is the constitution of India. We will not tolerate or accept any discrimination based on caste, creed and religion.#TalkToAMuslim #Spreadlove— Qudsia Mushahid (@MushahidQudsia) July 17, 2018
It's a shame that this hashtag #TalkToAMuslim needs to be run.— Sanghamitra (@AudaciousQuest) July 17, 2018
This is where Modi and RSS have dragged us down to.
This is the common man waking up.
Keep trying to divide the country and we will show you how united we are.
Opposition groups have criticised Modi for failing to speak up against the violence targeting Muslims, accusing his party of a sectarian bias.
Muslims make up about 14 percent of India's 1.3 billion population.
There are many, however, who say hashtags like #TalkToAMuslim are "unnecessary", "disgusting", or "demeaning" to Indian Muslims.
I am disgusted by the #TalkToAMuslim trend. I'm personally offended. It's like someone has slapped me.— Purva Agarwala (@ppurva) July 17, 2018
When did we fall so low? Stop being polite to your bigoted friends and family. Let them taste the same poison they are spreading in the society. #BoycottHindutvaSupporters
What the hell is this #TalkToAMuslim hashtag?— Roshan Rai (@RoshanKrRai) July 17, 2018
There is no stigma associated with talking to Muslims. Some of my best friends are Muslims and when we talk to each other , we don't think of each other's religion.
This hashtag is demeaning Muslims.
What the hell is this #TalkToAMuslim hashtag?— Koena Mitra (@koenamitra) July 17, 2018
Shameful this is.. A new circus or something? Who doesn't talk to Muslim's? Twitter has become a joke!
I find it an extremely strange hashtag, @seemagoswami .. I don’t know a single Indian who doesn’t #TalkToAMuslim .. I know there are people with rabid mindsets on both sides of the religious divide. But our society being what it is, everyone has to talk to everyone!— Tina Sharma (@TinaSharmaT) July 17, 2018
Completely flaggerbasted by the #TalkToAMuslim hashtag. It imbues TALKING to muslims with a stigma that never was, and is patronizing as heck. I'd imagine people with friends of different religions including Islam are quite taken aback by this and unsure what it attempts to fix.— Narasinga (@syrinje) July 17, 2018
Shocked beyond words at this cheap hashtag #TalkToAMuslim. Not only is it downright disrespectful, it does no favor to Muslims you are supposedly speaking up for. Get out of fake social media world and you will see Muslims and Hindus talk to each other like any two normal humans.— Sunanda Vashisht (@sunandavashisht) July 17, 2018