Several Muslim women were shocked to find themselves ‘on sale’ on an auctioning app called ‘Sulli Deals’. The app which was uploaded on the hosting service GitHub has now been taken down from the platform. ‘Sulli’ is a derogatory term used for Muslim women.
The incident came to light late Sunday night when several Twitter handles shared their “deal of the day”. The app displayed photos and Twitter handles of several Muslim women journalists, activists, analysts, artists, and researchers.
A group of men made a database of Muslim women and named it “Sulli Deals”. Images of Muslim women, including mine, were shared there. It is a clear case of trafficking, which is legally and morally wrong. But here, a particular section is openly supporting them. (1/3)
— Saniya Sayed (@Ssaniya_) July 5, 2021
Didn't check Twitter last night. Woke up this morning to realise my name, along with those of many other Muslim women was up on GitHub as a list of "Sulli Deals". Thankfully by the time I came across it, it had been taken down. But just the screenshots sent shivers down my spine. pic.twitter.com/CGXivEyjyC
— Fatima Khan (@khanthefatima) July 5, 2021
Why do u have the need to make it a "women" issue, but not acknowledge the github attack is categorically targeted at Muslim women, solely for their identity?
By saying "All women" u r diminishing the threat/targetted harassment that muslim women face both online + offline.
— #RepealUAPA UrbanShrink (@UrbanShrink) July 7, 2021
“I found about the app after receiving messages from friends and acquaintances asking if I knew about it. Seeing the tweets and screenshots that were shared, I just felt very triggered and disturbed. I didn’t know what to say or write. I could only respond the next morning,” Afreen Fatima, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University told Core Middle East. She was one of the many women to have her photo and information shared on the app.
Fatima who is also a social activist added, “I am planning to file an FIR and take the legal course. But there have been instances where these complaints have never actually developed into FIRs, so we don’t have a lot of hope. Still, I am planning to do as much as I can to ensure that nothing of this sort happens again.”
Earlier this year, on Eid-ul-Fitr, Muslim women were targeted in a similar fashion. An Indian YouTube Channel named ‘Liberal Doge’ live-streamed photos and videos of several Muslim women and passed lewd commentary objectifying and sexualizing those women. The stream, started by Ritesh Jha, was later taken down.
She said both these incidents are connected. “We don’t want people to say that this is an isolated case of cyberbullying or harassment of women and just limit it to that. Both incidents happened to us because we are Muslim women. The kind of filthy language that was used for us is restricted to Muslim women alone. There are several ways that can link this to the bigger anti-Muslim propaganda, the anti-Muslim sentiments that have seeped into the Indian society,” said Fatima.
Fatima also pointed to the lack of response from the majority community, the feminists as well as the women’s rights activists.
“It says a lot about the lack of place for Muslim women in the imagination of Indian women. This is just a translation to the anti-Muslim sentiment in the country,” she added.
Issued Notice to Police on a very serious matter of cyber crime where pictures of several Muslim women were displayed online without their consent and termed as ‘Sulli Deal of the day’. FIR should be registered and strong action should be taken. #SulliDeals pic.twitter.com/MyvKGTsvJ1
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) July 7, 2021