Muslims make up nearly 14 percent of India’s 1.35 billion population but do not have the same representation in government or private sector jobs.

The situation has worsened since 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power, with the government pursuing policies targeting the Muslim minority and their economic and religious rights.

The dominance of the BJP and RSS, in every sector have been now calling for the exclusion of Muslims from all the economic areas.

Since this enjoys the protection and patronage often by the government, it is now being done more openly.

Politically Muslims have been disempowered. The idea now is to disempower them in all areas of life.

Lubna Aamir, 28, is a dentist by training. But practicing her profession remains a dream for her.

Lubna have excellent grades and had an internship from a government college which is much sought after in the dental industry, her work profile is very good and resume is impressive.

After studying dentistry and a few years of practice at a government college in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, Lubna wanted a better position.

She applied for jobs at nearly two dozen places but there was no response “despite having very good credentials”.

After multiple rejections, dentist Luban realized it was her identity that was putting her at a disadvantage. She felt her identity, the one she was always proud of, had turned into an obstacle.

In one interview, the interviewer asked Lubna upfront if she was willing to take off her hijab if she worked at the clinic. She refused, then the human resource executive told her that they will not hire her.

Shaila Irfan, 32, was a teacher at one of New Delhi’s largest chains of English-medium schools. Everything was going smoothly until someone from the administration asked her if she really needed to wear the hijab, because students and teachers are uncomfortable with Hijab it seems.

She left the job without arguing with the administration and began looking for a new job.

A study published by a leadership incubator that focuses on the professional development of Muslims, has also revealed discrimination and bias against Muslim women in the hiring process for entry-level jobs in various sectors.

The study found the net discrimination rate was 47.1 percent as the Hindu woman received 208 positive responses, while the Muslim woman received only 103.

The study highlights excessive hiring bias against Muslim women even in instances where they were equally qualified for the job.

A similar study, “Being a Muslim at the Workplace” by Mumbai-based feminist collective, found that even in metropolitan cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai, Muslims continue to face prejudice in the formal sector.

The report noted that a scarcity of Muslim women in the formal sector points out to a systematic and institutionalized push towards an economic exclusion of Muslims.

Indian Muslims have a problem with being Muslims but they have a bigger problem with being visibly Muslims.

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Source: Al Jazeera

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