At least three Indians were fired or put on unpaid leave by employers in the United Arab Emirates, after a social media probe claimed to find Islamophobic posts.
Firms in the UAE are monitoring social media accounts of their Indian employees after Arab residents reported anti-Islamic posts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a Saturday report by Gulf News said.
The alleged anti-muslim remarks were made as Muslims mark the holy month of Ramadan, which commenced in April.
Backlash from Arabs on social media reportedly prompted Indian ambassador to the UAE, Pawan Kapoor, to warn the country’s Indian community that the two countries “share the value of non-discrimination on any ground.”
UAE laws criminalises hate speech targeted towards a religious group.
The Gulf News report said that two Indian nationals – a chef and a storekeeper – were put on probation by their employers over reports of anti-Islam posts.
A third Indian employed at Transguard was fired and handed over to the police in Dubai after investigations found he had posted offensive content on Ramadan using a pseudonym on Facebook, according to Gulf News.
A Transguard spokesperson reportedly said the company carries out regular monitoring of social media accounts, in accordance to UAE cybercrime regulations.
“It is enforced through regular monitoring, evaluation and, if necessary, disciplinary action, including fines, termination and deportation, as per federal law,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
India has seen a recent spark in hate crimes against muslims, who are being targeted over false accusations of spreading deliberately speading the novel coronavirus, according to the Human Rights Watch.
“In recent weeks, social media and WhatsApp groups have been flooded by calls for social and economic boycotts of Muslims and there have been numerous physical attacks on Muslims, including volunteers distributing relief material,” HRW researcher Jayshree Bajoria wrote in a statement on Friday.