Seminar on

Reshaping Perspectives: Understanding Islamophobia in India

13, August, 2023. Hotel SPB, Karol Bagh, New Delhi

Chief Guests

Prof. Salman Sayyid

Prof. Salman Sayyid

University of Leeds

Sayyid is a Professor in Rhetoric and Decolonial Thought at the University of Leeds, where he is also the Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy. His research is focused on decolonial political theory. Sayyid’s major publications are, ‘Recalling the Caliphate: Decolonisation and World Order’ (2014) and ‘A Fundamental Fear’ (1997).

Dr. Najib Kawtar

Dr. Najib Kawtar

University of Liverpool

Kawtar Najib is a social and urban geographer with research interests in social inequality and religious discrimination using both quantitative and qualitative methods, and the author of the book ‘Spatialized Islamophobia’.   She is currently working as a Lecturer in Human Geography in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Liverpool.

Prof. Tanweer Fazal

Prof. Tanweer Fazal

University of Hyderabad

Tanweer Fazal is a prominent scholar specializing in the sociology of nationalism, community formation, and identity, focusing on their implications on rights and entitlement discourse. Prior to his current position as a professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad, he taught at prestigious institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia.

Prof. Irfanullah Farooqui

Prof. Irfanullah Farooqui

South Asian University

Irfanullah Farooqi is currently working as an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Sociology at South Asian University. Prior to joining SAU, he worked at the Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia. As a result of his M Phil on Faiz Ahmad Faiz and PhD on Muhammad Iqbal (both from the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University), he has developed a keen interest in the meeting point of sociology, literature, and history.

Dr. Sadique PK

Dr. Sadique PK

MediaOne Academy of Communication

Sadique PK completed his PhD from English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad. His interests include religion and politics in South Asia, citizenship studies, social movement studies, political theology and critical theory. He is the Principal of MediaOne Academy of Communication, Kerala.

CERT is pleased to announce the forthcoming seminar on Islamophobia in India, scheduled for the 13th of August in Delhi. This seminar holds significant importance as it serves as a preliminary endeavor in support of our ongoing research project on Islamophobia within Indian educational institutions. The primary objective of our research is to meticulously document the experiences of Muslim students in these institutions, with a dedicated focus on illuminating the precise magnitude and characteristics of various narratives and incidents that perpetrate acts of Islamophobia, including instances of discrimination and harassment. Through this meticulous undertaking, our study aims to establish a robust evidentiary foundation, facilitating comprehensive discussions and effective strategies for combating the pervasive issue of Islamophobia in India.

The seminar will be conducted in accordance with the following conceptual framework:

Concept Note

Muslims in India account for 10.9% of the global Muslim population and comprise 14.2% of the country’s total population (Muslim Population by Country 2023). Although the social and political conditions in which Indian Muslims live, particularly the atrocities committed with the backing of both the state and the masses, have been the subject of scholarly analysis and discussion for a long time, it has been limited to some of the traditional theoretical approaches (such as the concept of communalism) that have been utilised since the partition of the subcontinent. However, many, such as Pritam Singh (2017), have demonstrated the inadequacy of approaches such as communalism, in addressing atrocities against minority communities like Muslims, particularly when communal differences within the Muslim community are considered, which in turn places the blame on the community itself. Moreover, this deficiency is evident in the failure of mainstream secular parties to comprehend and engage with Muslim issues, as well as in their active and passive participation in the atrocities. After September 11, 2001, atrocities against Muslims took on a new form and content. The majority of violent acts perpetrated against Muslims were sanctioned by the state mechanism, either through direct involvement or through a baffling silence against the act.

In this context, political activists, academics, and students adopted the term Islamophobia as both a theoretical approach and political terminology. It was a direct transference of the idea of Islamophobia to India, which has been prevalent in a global context, particularly in Western nations, and has led to legal formulations against anti-Muslim outbreaks of violence in nations such as the United Kingdom. The Muslim- minority context in India is under-theorized in the paradigm of Islamophobia studies and requires significant attention compared to other contexts (Kunnummal 2022), despite the fact that Islamophobia in India has been the subject of scholarly discussions and is frequently employed in popular discourse.

Numerous attempts have been made to define Islamophobia. The conventional use of the term can be traced back to a 1997 report by the Runnymede Trust, which divided the concept of Islamophobia into eight parts. Those parts ranged from the notion that Islam is an unchanging monolith to the belief that it is inherently violent and fundamentally inferior to the West (Sayyid, 2014). A precise and universal definition of Islamophobia is nearly impossible to formulate and would be misleading, due to the fact that existing definitions of Islamophobia are limited to specific social and historical contexts. This indicates that Islamophobia cannot be defined or comprehended independently of context. It is not to deny the common characteristics of Islamophobia, such as the war on terror unleashed by the United States in the wake of 9/11, which are present in the majority of Islamophobic cases, but rather to comprehend the peculiarities of particular instances of Islamophobia, such as Islamophobia in India. In order to comprehend and combat Islamophobia in India, a context-specific or comparative theorization of Islamophobia in India is crucial. Nonetheless, Salman Sayyid, while acknowledging the Runnymede Trust Report’s definition of Islamophobia as a racialisation of Muslims, attempted to define the concept “as an undermining of the ability of Muslims as Muslims” (Sayyid, 2014). This aspect of the Islamophobia category resembles the anti-semitism category in that it “defines Jewishness in a way that impoverishes Jews’ ability to define themselves” (Sayyid, 2014).

In general, RSS and its fringe elements are regarded as the most visible and proclaimed Islamophobes. But the structure of Islamophobia in India is rooted in modern discourses of politics, community, caste, gender, nationalism, state, religion, and economy that contribute to the racialization of Muslims (Kunnummal 2022). Sayyid identified India as one of the contemporary world’s regions in which Muslims constitute a minority population. According to Sayyid, the cultural, socioeconomic, and historical contexts in which Islam is practised influence the ways in which Islamophobia is practised. Indian nuances are significant to take into account and should be understood accordingly.


Focal Areas of the Seminar

In light of the foregoing discussion, the purpose of the seminar is to deepen our understanding of the problem of Islamophobia in India and to suggest methods for combating it. Therefore, the Seminar’s discussions will centre on (but not be limited to) the following main themes;

Global Perspective of Islamophobia

This will cover the scholarly attempts to understand various aspects of Islamophobia and subsequently, the ameliorative measures that have been taken against Islamophobia at an administrative level.

  • Different aspects/layers of Islamophobia in a global context 
  • Philosophical disputes on the category of Islamophobia in a global context (conceptual clarification; advantages and disadvantageous of the category; debates over the concept; ontology of the category)
  • Political disputes on Islamophobia (appearance of the category in different global contexts and political debates it generates; opponents and advocates of Islamophobia)
  • Constitutional measures against Islamophobia
Particularities of Islamophobia in India

This section will focus primarily on the introduction of Islamophobia in India, its trajectory, and the debates it generated, as well as an attempt to contextualise the phenomenon within the social and political history of India, as has been done in other contexts.

  • Ways of seeing the Muslim question (Already employed categories and approaches – communalism, anti-Muslim, etc. – to address discriminations and violence against Muslims; this will encompass the context whereinto the idea of Islamophobia had entered; early and recent debate about communalism and secularism in India; studies on riots and violence in India)
  • Contesting Islamophobia (Debates that the introduction of Islamophobia generated; opposing arguments and advocates of Islamophobia; political and philosophical debate; the possibility of a definition of Islamophobia through these political debates)
  • Roots of Indian Islamophobia and Muslims of the subcontinent: (Particularities of Indian society; Social and political history of Muslims as the margins of Indian nationalism; identity transformation and construction of Muslim minorities; formations of anti-muslim historiographies; forms of violence against Muslims; finally, how Islamophobia is forged and rooted in/through Indian particularities)
Islamophobia in Indian Academia and educational institutions

This portion will concentrate on Indian academia, the prevalence of Islamophobia at multiple levels, and its manifestations in educational institutions in India.

  • Multi-layers of Islamophobic manifestations in academic spaces.
  • Epistemic side of Islamophobia
  • Institutional Existence of Islamophobia in Indian Academic Spaces

Abstract Submission

9th July

Full Paper Submission

10th August


13th August


Call for papers

(Selected papers will be published with ISBN)

CERT invites academicians and research scholars, who are capable of contributing their part in the realms of academic discourses with great enthusiasm and critical engagements. CERT hopes a vast array of discussions on the prescribed themes would be held and it can be a valuable achievement in the academic sphere. Papers based on the aforementioned themes are welcomed.


Guidelines for the paper submission

  • Author’s Title Name, University/Organization, Paper Title and contact number to be stated clearly at the time of abstract submission.
  • Subject of the mail should be ‘Reshaping Perspectives understanding Islamophobia in India, Abstract submission’
  • Abstract should not exceed 350 words
  • The paper should not exceed 5,000 words including abstract & references.
  • Font – Times New Roman; Font size – 12
  • Both the abstract and the paper manuscript should be in MS Word document format
  • Papers to be sent to [email protected]