Muslim women in India auctioned online using GitHub – the Diplomat
“They targeted us because we are women, we are Muslims and we are outspoken,” said Noor, a public health professional, who woke up on Monday to find she was “up for auction” in online on a GitHub website, “Sulli Deals”. ‘Sulli’ is a derogatory word for Muslim women.
Noor was not the only one. Nearly 80 Muslim women, mostly artists, researchers, journalists and students, active on social media, have found their identities doxed and their photos and names posted on this site without their consent, alongside derogatory headlines and objectifying as the day is … “
“I was enraged, how far can you go down just because you hate us?” It is outright Islamophobia. We were in the field, we were working for the people and we were taking care of the space, ”Noor said.
Throughout the pandemic, she has worked with various nonprofits to raise awareness and fundraise for everyone from victims of COVID-19 to Rohingya refugees, who have lost everything in the fire at Kanchan Kunj camp in Delhi. This isn’t the first time Noor has faced hatred and abuse online for her identity, but she didn’t expect such a coordinated campaign.
“It’s not easy to build a website on GitHub and it had animation and clear language. There are educated people involved here, ”Noor said.
The website on GitHub, an open source software development platform, claimed to be a “community-driven open source project.” According to the victims, many members of the “right-wing ecosystem” posted and shared the website on Twitter. Ajeet Bharti, former editor of Op-India and co-founder of Do Politics, has been criticized for promoting the website. “If someone brings a lot to the general mass, what’s wrong,” he tweeted.
No action was taken against Bharti.
Since Sunday, some women have deactivated their accounts and others have filed FIRs and complaints with the police but remain dejected.
“These people are not sorry, they are not afraid, because they know that nothing is going to happen to them,” said another woman targeted by the site. “If the police had intended, these people would have already been found and these potential rapists would have been behind bars. “
After a massive push to report GitHub, the website content was taken offline and the account was suspended. However, the Microsoft-owned company has not come back on the women regarding the identity of the account and has not announced any formal investigation into the matter.
An anonymous Twitter account claimed responsibility for building the website with proton mail used and a paid VPN. The account owner said he plans to restart the page and has already started implementing the code.
“Abuse is abuse. As women, we walk down the streets, and we are pinched and touched without our consent. The only difference, and the most frustrating part about it, is that I still don’t know who is behind it all, ”said driver Hana Mohsin Khan, who discovered her photo on Sunday night. She hasn’t slept well since.
The women, who have been doxed, are also facing the moral police of some members of their own community for posting their photos on social media.
“They tell us it had to happen if, as Muslim women, we put our photos online,” Khan said. “It’s blaming the victim. Those behind this believe that women are easy targets, that we will be humiliated as a society. It is the responsibility of our community not to let them win.
The GitHub site arrives a few weeks before Eid-ul-Adha, which Muslims will celebrate this year on July 21.
Many Muslim women see it as an escalation of cyberbullying, harassment and policing of Indian Muslim women online since the journalist Rana Ayyub’s deepfake sex tapes to the character assassination of activist Safoora Zargar during his trial last year.
“We don’t adapt as perfect victims, we don’t adapt to their narrative of Muslim women. Their idea of a Muslim woman is fundamentally wrong. We are targeted because when we speak people are listening, ”Khan said.
Eid last year also saw a Similar virtual YouTube “auction” against Pakistani Muslim womenPhotos from the Indian YouTube channel “Liberal Doge”. The channel is said to be run by a man named Ritesh Jha, reports Laundry and The Straight, based on several social media posts. The ‘liberal doge’ launched a live broadcast and set up another video yesterday boast that no action has been taken against him. A man is also heard abusing the “K” Twitter account which raised the alarm about Sulli Deals.
“We have developed very thick skin. If they think that we will be afraid, or that we will not speak, they are wrong. We don’t let them win, ”Noor said. “I will do my job no matter what you put me through.”