"Muslim Women" by Giuseppe Pinto / CC BY-SA 3.0

India just redefined its citizenship criteria to exclude Muslims

Dec 13, 2019

By Sigal Samuel

India is home to 200 million Muslims. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they have faced mounting threats to their status in the majority-Hindu country. And on Wednesday, they were walloped by a new worrisome development: The upper house of India’s Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

The legislation turns religion into a means of deciding whom to treat as an illegal immigrant — and whom to fast-track for citizenship. The bill is being sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his approval (he will almost certainly sign it), and then it will become law.

At first glance, the bill may seem like a laudable effort to protect persecuted minorities. It says Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians who came to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan won’t be treated as illegal. They’ll have a clear path to citizenship.

But one major group has been left out: Muslims.

That’s no coincidence.

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