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More Indian expats in UAE face action over Islamophobic social media posts

The UAE laws criminalise any acts that trigger religious hatred and/or insult religion through any form of expression, which covers speech and the written word, books, pamphlets or online media.

Karuna John 07 May 2020

IslamophobiaImage Courtesy:newskarnataka.com

Indian expatriates in the Middle East continue to be under the scanner and are still facing severe backlash, including job loss if found indulging in any form of hate speech, or when speaking against religion, or race, in violation of the laws of the country they work in. Three more such cases, that of a chef, a storekeeper and a cashier, have recently come to light in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Some right wing portals, and groups have presented it as action against Hindus working in the region. However, those who have been fired from their jobs, or are being investigated are said to be in violation of UAE laws that prohibit all religious or racial discrimination under a legislation passed in 2015. 

Some expats have continued to ignore reminders even from Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, who had told Indians working in the region that any discrimination will not be tolerated. Kapoor had tweeted, “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.” 

According to the UAE government portal, the Anti-discrimination/Anti-hatred law states: 

“In July 2015, H. H Sheikh Khalifa has issued Federal Decree Law No. 2 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred, which aims to protect everyone in the UAE and thus bring the concept of social security to a new level.

The law is intended to provide a solid legislative ground for the environment of tolerance, co-existence and acceptance. It aims to fight discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

The law criminalises any acts that trigger religious hatred and/or insult religion through any form of expression, which covers speech and the written word, books, pamphlets or online media. The law prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.

The law prohibits any entity or group established specifically to provoke religious hatred and recommends stringent punishments for groups or supporters of any organisations or individuals that are associated with hate crimes.

It also bars any kind of events such as conferences and meetings within the UAE, which are organised with the sole purpose of sowing seeds of discrimination, discord or hatred against individuals or groups.

Receiving financial support for such activities is also punishable under the new law.

The law encourages anyone involved in any activity that violates the law to submit themselves voluntarily before the authorities and has provisions allowing the courts to waive penalties in such cases.”

Hate speech by Indian expatriates was also  called out by Sharjah Princess Hend Faisal Al Qassemi, who had warned: “You make your bread and butter from this land, which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed.” She had said that communal hate speech was in violation of the UAE laws and will be penalised.

Weeks after this warning, the a report in the Gulf News, stated that more Indian expats face action over their Islamophobic remarks on social media. 

Three more have now landed in trouble. According to news reports these include a chef, identified as Rohit Rawat, a storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli and a cashier who has not been identified. Three others are said to have lost their jobs or been suspended due to their offensive online behaviors in the recent past.

The Gulf News quotes a spokesperson for Azadea Group that operates Eataly, a chain of high-end Italian restaurants in Dubai, where Rawat Rohit worked as a chef, saying that he was now under suspension and will have to face “a disciplinary probe.” As will storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli who has been suspended until further notice by Sharjah-based Pneumics Automation. “We have withheld his salary and told him not to come to work. The matter is under investigation. We have a zero tolerance policy. Anyone found guilty of insulting or showing contempt for someone’s religion will have to bear the consequences,” Gulf news quoted  the firm’s owner.

Dubai-based Transguard Group is also investigating an employee who allegedly posted offensive messages on his Facebook page under a different name. “Following an internal investigation, the actual identity of this employee was verified and he was stripped of his security credentials, terminated from our employment and handed over to the relevant authorities as per company policy and UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012. As of this statement, he is in the custody of Dubai Police,” Gulf News cited a Transguard statement on the issue.

The Gulf News has also shared a list of Indian expats “who have landed in trouble” after posting such social media content this year.

April 18: Prominent Sharjah-based Keralite businessman and filmmaker Sohan Roy is forced to apologise for a video which depicted Islamic clerics leading blindfolded men in skull caps in an adaptation of his poem on religious bigotry.

April 6-15: Technician Rakesh B. Kitturmath, chief accountant Bala Krishna Nakka and finance analyst Mitesh Udeshi are fired for derogatory social media posts that violated the UAE law while a police complaint is filed against Sameer Bhandari, CEO of Future Vision Events & Weddings’ after he asked an Indian Muslim job seeker to “Go back to Pakistan” in text message

March 2020: Indian chef Trilok Singh who worked at a restaurant in Dubai is fired for making an online threat to rape Delhi-based law student Swati Khanna over her views on the controversial Citizen Amendment Act.

January 2020: Indian expat Jayant Gokhale draws flak for asking Keralite job seeker Abdulla SS to join protestors in Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi.

Incidentally action against Islamophobia is not limited to Muslim nations. One Ravi Hooda, of Indian origin who identifies himself on social media as a “Registered Certified Immigration Consultant” allegedly made Islamophobic posts when  Brampton allowed mosques to announce azaan, the call to prayer. He was removed  from his role as School Council Chair by  the authorities. “The Principal has begun an investigation. The individual is being removed from their role as School Council Chair and won't be able to participate on council in any other capacity. Islamophobia is not acceptable and a clear violation of our Safe and Accepting Schools Policy.”

More Indian expats in UAE face action over Islamophobic social media posts

The UAE laws criminalise any acts that trigger religious hatred and/or insult religion through any form of expression, which covers speech and the written word, books, pamphlets or online media.

IslamophobiaImage Courtesy:newskarnataka.com

Indian expatriates in the Middle East continue to be under the scanner and are still facing severe backlash, including job loss if found indulging in any form of hate speech, or when speaking against religion, or race, in violation of the laws of the country they work in. Three more such cases, that of a chef, a storekeeper and a cashier, have recently come to light in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Some right wing portals, and groups have presented it as action against Hindus working in the region. However, those who have been fired from their jobs, or are being investigated are said to be in violation of UAE laws that prohibit all religious or racial discrimination under a legislation passed in 2015. 

Some expats have continued to ignore reminders even from Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, who had told Indians working in the region that any discrimination will not be tolerated. Kapoor had tweeted, “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.” 

According to the UAE government portal, the Anti-discrimination/Anti-hatred law states: 

“In July 2015, H. H Sheikh Khalifa has issued Federal Decree Law No. 2 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred, which aims to protect everyone in the UAE and thus bring the concept of social security to a new level.

The law is intended to provide a solid legislative ground for the environment of tolerance, co-existence and acceptance. It aims to fight discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

The law criminalises any acts that trigger religious hatred and/or insult religion through any form of expression, which covers speech and the written word, books, pamphlets or online media. The law prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.

The law prohibits any entity or group established specifically to provoke religious hatred and recommends stringent punishments for groups or supporters of any organisations or individuals that are associated with hate crimes.

It also bars any kind of events such as conferences and meetings within the UAE, which are organised with the sole purpose of sowing seeds of discrimination, discord or hatred against individuals or groups.

Receiving financial support for such activities is also punishable under the new law.

The law encourages anyone involved in any activity that violates the law to submit themselves voluntarily before the authorities and has provisions allowing the courts to waive penalties in such cases.”

Hate speech by Indian expatriates was also  called out by Sharjah Princess Hend Faisal Al Qassemi, who had warned: “You make your bread and butter from this land, which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed.” She had said that communal hate speech was in violation of the UAE laws and will be penalised.

Weeks after this warning, the a report in the Gulf News, stated that more Indian expats face action over their Islamophobic remarks on social media. 

Three more have now landed in trouble. According to news reports these include a chef, identified as Rohit Rawat, a storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli and a cashier who has not been identified. Three others are said to have lost their jobs or been suspended due to their offensive online behaviors in the recent past.

The Gulf News quotes a spokesperson for Azadea Group that operates Eataly, a chain of high-end Italian restaurants in Dubai, where Rawat Rohit worked as a chef, saying that he was now under suspension and will have to face “a disciplinary probe.” As will storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli who has been suspended until further notice by Sharjah-based Pneumics Automation. “We have withheld his salary and told him not to come to work. The matter is under investigation. We have a zero tolerance policy. Anyone found guilty of insulting or showing contempt for someone’s religion will have to bear the consequences,” Gulf news quoted  the firm’s owner.

Dubai-based Transguard Group is also investigating an employee who allegedly posted offensive messages on his Facebook page under a different name. “Following an internal investigation, the actual identity of this employee was verified and he was stripped of his security credentials, terminated from our employment and handed over to the relevant authorities as per company policy and UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012. As of this statement, he is in the custody of Dubai Police,” Gulf News cited a Transguard statement on the issue.

The Gulf News has also shared a list of Indian expats “who have landed in trouble” after posting such social media content this year.

April 18: Prominent Sharjah-based Keralite businessman and filmmaker Sohan Roy is forced to apologise for a video which depicted Islamic clerics leading blindfolded men in skull caps in an adaptation of his poem on religious bigotry.

April 6-15: Technician Rakesh B. Kitturmath, chief accountant Bala Krishna Nakka and finance analyst Mitesh Udeshi are fired for derogatory social media posts that violated the UAE law while a police complaint is filed against Sameer Bhandari, CEO of Future Vision Events & Weddings’ after he asked an Indian Muslim job seeker to “Go back to Pakistan” in text message

March 2020: Indian chef Trilok Singh who worked at a restaurant in Dubai is fired for making an online threat to rape Delhi-based law student Swati Khanna over her views on the controversial Citizen Amendment Act.

January 2020: Indian expat Jayant Gokhale draws flak for asking Keralite job seeker Abdulla SS to join protestors in Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi.

Incidentally action against Islamophobia is not limited to Muslim nations. One Ravi Hooda, of Indian origin who identifies himself on social media as a “Registered Certified Immigration Consultant” allegedly made Islamophobic posts when  Brampton allowed mosques to announce azaan, the call to prayer. He was removed  from his role as School Council Chair by  the authorities. “The Principal has begun an investigation. The individual is being removed from their role as School Council Chair and won't be able to participate on council in any other capacity. Islamophobia is not acceptable and a clear violation of our Safe and Accepting Schools Policy.”

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