'Salafist' extremists have found a new target: YouTubers of Hyderabad

‘We know our passion and our religion’, said one of the YouTubers in response to criticism.
'Salafist' extremists have found a new target: YouTubers of Hyderabad
'Salafist' extremists have found a new target: YouTubers of Hyderabad
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For a few years now, YouTubers from Hyderabad have been creating comic content relevant to the city, and have earned a wide fan-base among the city's youth. But what can be fun and not invite the wrath of a few religious extremists these days?

Hyderabad-based 'Salafi' youth seem to have taken offence of three popular YouTube channels - Hyderabad Diaries, The Baigan Vines and Kantri Guyz. The reason? Apparently, the content was bad influence on the gullible youth. 

The Salafi movement or Salafism is considered to an 'ultra-conservative' movement in Sunni Islam. Salafis are “fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam. The word 'Salafi' comes from the Arabic phrase, 'as-salaf as-saliheen', which refers to the first three generations of Muslims (starting with the Companions of the Prophet), otherwise known as the Pious Predecessors."

In Hyderabad, the anti-Youtubers Salafist trend surfaced last month, after a video by a self-claimed 'Salafi entrepreneur',  Adnan Qamar, was uploaded on YouTube which termed these content creators as 'Fitnah', an Arabic word that translates to trial and tribulation, which has a negative connotation in the Islam. 

Qamar claims that they "were a bad influence on youngsters" and "spoiling our neighbourhood and promoting useless things, girls, music and jokes."(sic). He then goes on to quote verses from the Quran, which 'support' his narrative.

The video, which gained him several thousand views, also gained him a lot of local recognition. Soon, other smaller videos followed, 'warning' people against the YouTubers. The main point of contention seemed to be that the YouTubers were okay with acting beside women in their videos.

Within a week, Qamar went on to do a 'Facebook live' on a popular channel titled 'Wake up Hyderabad', which also took the cause up of asking people to be 'beware' of YouTubers.

The movement has also tried to start hashtags like #BoycottYouTubers and #HyderabadiYouTubersKaFitnah.

There have also been videos in response to that too, defending the YouTubers.

The YouTubers themselves have responded and stated that they choose to ignore the criticism.

Speaking to TNM, Syed Viquar Mohiuddin, the creator of Kantri Guyz said, "It's better not to react to such things. This is a part of every successful journey. There will always be people criticising you on the grounds of creativity and entertainment, and now religion has joined the list." 

"We should never mix religion with art and entertainment. The campaign that these people are running is baseless, and comes from a lack of knowledge of our channel and our motto," he adds.

Two months ago, YouTube India chose Kantri Guyz along with two more YouTubers, as the 'YouTube brand ambassadors of Hyderabad'.

"We represent Hyderabad. YouTube chose us from several channels, which means that, at least according to them, we are upholding the name of our great city," says Syed.

"We know that this is our passion and we know our religious belief," he adds.

Abrar Khan from Hyderabad Diaries told TNM, "We did not respond to them and we don't intend to. Extremism is never good, in anything." 

"This will be over before you know it. People overestimate the lifespan of a hype," he added.

Mohammed bin Ishaq from The Baigan Vines told TOI, "It is high time that such sections, instead of creating rifts, dedicate their time in educating youth about political and social issues which is the need of the hour. Some misdirected groups are busy creating further divisions in the name of sect by degrading others who mean no harm.”

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