Fighting Islamophobia, one tweet at a time @MuslimVoicesIn

By Muslim Voices of India

Started in August 2016, Muslim Voices of India have gathered over five thousand followers in just ten months. The Initiative to fight Islamophobia, challenge stereotypes about Muslims, remove misconceptions about Islam, and give a global voice to Indian Muslims came out of intense brainstorming sessions of a motley group of Indian Muslim women & men who are active on social media.

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Since most of us were active on Twitter and it was felt that this platform is also where most hate is visible, it was decided to start this initiative on Twitter. A twitter handle @MuslimVoicesIn was registered and it was decided to make it a curated handle which means every week we get a new person to come and tweet about issues that are important to them and tell their personal stories. We have about forty curators with diverse backgrounds curate over the last 10 months.

We had curators from North, South, East, and Western parts of India and quite a few from abroad as well. We had men and women, Shias and Sunnis, Doctors & Lawyers, Scientists & Writers- well, you get the picture. We had tried to capture the diversity of Indian Muslims in selection of the curators, fully recognizing that majority of Indian Muslims are not online or express themselves in English. Muslim Voices of India (MVIN) doesn’t speak on behalf of all Indian Muslims rather provides a platform for diversity of views, experiences, and practices of Muslims living in India to become available to the world.

This is also an attempt in taking the initiative back in defining ourselves and choosing our own words and our own agenda on what to say and when to say. Creating a liberating space where inter-community issues can also be addressed. This latter part has met with stiff resistance and lots of trolling by Muslims themselves who see an agenda where there is none. Women curators have experienced more trolling than our male curators. Perhaps it was topics that they chose to talk about or just their gender that was threatening enough for some.

MVIN has overcome spate of trolling and a few incidents of Twitter blocking the handles as a result of mass reporting, the experience has made us stronger and more determined in our struggle. The struggle is multidimensional, it’s struggle for equality and justice within the community at the same time fighting for recognition & respect in the larger world.

MVIN is not a reform movement, it doesn’t seek to reform Islam or even believe that it has the ability to bring about a change among the Muslims. However, we do believe that sparks can be lit that will force people to know more about the diversity that exists within the community, talk about issues that matter to some people, think about the possibilities of what we can become.

MVIN, through it curators is fighting Islamophobia, spreading knowledge about Indian Muslims, generating debate about issues, educating people and opening a window to the Indian Muslim world for everyone to see.

Since the first brainstorming sessions, we have lost a few people who dropped out of the project either because of disagreement, futility of the exercise, or just because they couldn’t find the extra free time. However this vision has marched on thanks to a few dedicated people working behind the scene.

MVIN Core group consists of following individuals, in alphabetical order:

Amena Azeez. Originally a fashion designer and stylist, now a fashion blogger and writer. She writes on fashion, body positivity, feminism, literature and pop culture. Tweets @Fashionopolis

Based in Bangalore, Dr. Kouser Fathima is a dentist and a blogger. @kouser2012

Kashif-ul-Huda is founder editor of, father of a daughter, he earns his living working in a biotech company. Tweets @kaaashif

Mahtab Alam is an activist-turned-journalist and writer. He writes on issues related to politics, law, literature and human rights. Formerly he was a senior Campaigner with Amnesty International India. Tweets @MahtabNama

Samreen is from Bombay born to a Gujarati mum and Hyderabadi father… a Convent educated Muslim. Now living in UK for the last 12 years and working as a human rights lawyer. Tweets @TheJadedQueen

Tazeen Syed, A sports marketeer by profession who believes in the power of new mediums and technology to change mindsets and influence a positive impact. Believes in women power and breaking stereotypes. A keen interest in travel, culture, people and fantasy fiction. Tweets @decloned_itaz

It is not a closed group, we will continue to invite people of different backgrounds, experience, and expertise to enrich the group.

MVIN is a vision that small group of people, made up of well-intentioned individuals can come together to change the world around them. The fact that over 40 people agree to give their valuable time to curate and over 5000 have voluntarily signed up to receive those messages shows that there is a need for initiatives like this.

We are happy that other communities are inspired by our work and want to try this model of telling the world their stories in their own words. The world will be a better place if we all learn more about each other.

In the second year of this initiative, we hope to extend it into new platforms and move into even real world interactions. We are currently working on developing guidelines for a few IRL initiatives. Stay tuned for more information about these initiatives.

If you are interested in curating @MuslimVoicesIn for a week, please fill out the form here