Renowned Islamic scholar Mufti Tariq Masood has faced criticism from Pakistan and beyond after he told a Hindu that he didn’t seem like one as he wasn’t dark.
Mufti Masood visited a Hindu temple in Pakistan and told a Hindu that he looked fair like a Pathan (Pashtun). Masood added that he usually came across Hindus who were ‘black’.
Sociologist Shakil Rai said that the incident showed the deep-rooted colorism in Pakistan. Rai said that the nation was ‘brainwashed’ into colorist thinking, which was both propagated by and harmfully impacted the religious scholars in the country.
The entire nation has been Brainwashed over the decades; this skin color thing is just one of the agenda items. Ulema are the perpetrators as well as the victims of this “brain washing in the national interest”. We are digging deeper in the hole every passing day. https://t.co/Y87LHL31AY
— Shakil Rai (@ShakilRai2) October 1, 2021
A Twitter user built on Rai’s idea and said the concept of division based on color went back to the early Mughal era. He said that the Mughal emperors as the Muslim elite distinguished themselves from the Brahmins, who were the Hindu elite, based on color.
This idea goes way back in south Asian history. The early conquerors and later Mughals would often distinguish Brahmins from themselves by arguing that their skin color is darker than the Muslim counterparts. It also gave them a reason (albeit superficial) to be skeptical. https://t.co/CW6Mxp2x4k
— Modern Age Fakir (@arpandholi) September 30, 2021
Secretariat Sustainable Development Goals Coordinator Saman Jafri said that it was ‘disgusting’ that Masood was a representative of Islam; a religion that ironically came to rid the world of discrimination.
Disgusting… and these men unfortunately are considered the representatives of the religion which came to end all prejudice. https://t.co/oFauJflwo9
— Saman Jafriسمن جعفری (@SsamanJay) September 30, 2021
One user said that Pakistani clerics needed more exposure as there were close to 1.3 billion Hindus and 1.8 billion Muslims and neither group could be all black or white. He added that similar features created more religious harmony as opposed to being used to create division
Racial features don't create commonality among people rather acceptance of their faith and practices.
Pakistani Islamic clerics need exposure of the bigger world.
There are 1.3 billion Hindus around the globe and 1.8 billion Muslims. All are neither white nor black. https://t.co/w3ljwRQyKz
— Imran Ahsan Mirza (@imranahsanmirza) October 1, 2021
A user unpacked the implications of Mufti Masood’s statement. He said that racism evolved by associating darker skin to Hindus and fairness to Muslims. Since the narrative typically goes that Muslims are better than Hindus, it followed that fair was better than dark.
This is how subtly racism evolves. Muslims are fair, Hindus are black. Since Muslims are better than Hindus, then fair is better than dark.
This is exactly how Europeans developed their notions of racial superiority. https://t.co/80XFQ1s3Nm
— Akshay (@RamSuby) October 1, 2021
One user came to Masood’s statement and claimed it was a fact that close to 90 percent Hindus had dark complexions and that anyone who found a problem with the statement was racist themselves. She added that many Muslims were dark as well.
It is fact that 90% Hindus have dark complexion. Those who are having problem with this statement or statement of Moulana, are actually the problem themselves as they think being dark is problematic.
Also, most Muslims also have dark complexion. https://t.co/DqwuhvmLgB
— Ruksana (@stand4justice51) October 1, 2021
Another hinted that the single remark was blown out of proportion. Anyone who regularly listened to the cleric’s sermons, knew what his real character was, the user added.
Everyone who listens to Mufti Tariq Mashood knows his character and his ideas. Just taking one statement and generalizing it is either being ignorant or hypocrite. https://t.co/8gqSB1HWrI
— Al Qanuni (@Wisam_ul_Haque) September 30, 2021
Colorist tendencies in the clergy have been a repeated issue in Pakistan. Last year, an old video of venerable Islamic cleric Maulana Tariq Jameel went viral on social media, in which he said that Africans were unaesthetic due to their skin color.