An Indian Muslim group has called for the beheading of Canadian author and broadcaster Tarek Fatah. Fatah, a prominent critic of Islam, had recently started hosting a talk show on an Indian news channel.

The Muslim organisation, All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, placed a bounty of 1,000,786 Indian Rupees on the head of Fatah for opposing required Burqas and other Sharia practices oppressive to women. The number ‘786’ in the bounty refers to the numerical value of the Quranic verse “in the name of Allah, the most merciful, the most beneficent”. So much for the mercy and beneficence.

Presently living in Delhi, Fatah has received similar death threats from other Muslim leaders and clerics as well. Last week, he was attacked by a Muslim mob while attending a festival in New Delhi.

It is revealing to note that death threats to Fatah have been coming from mainstream Muslim groups and clerics, and not from some fringe Jihadis ‘distorting’ the teachings of Islam.

Fearful for his life, Fatah said he was a “virtual prisoner” in his Delhi hotel. He wrote in the Toronto Sun:

For the past few weeks I have been a virtual prisoner inside my Delhi Hotel, unable to walk out or attend any public event unless accompanied by “security.”

Threats by Islamic clerics that I had initially shrugged off as false bravado have turned out to be serious after one cleric pronounced on my TV show that I was a “kafir,” an apostate from Islam that, under some interpretations of sharia law, allows any Muslim to kill me, as stated unambiguously by a Canadian Islamic cleric.

A week earlier, another Islamic cleric from Kolkata, while addressing me on a live, televised debate, boasted, “you will soon be beheaded.”

Besides the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, other Muslim groups are pressuring the Indian government to pull Fatah off the air.  The Indian newspaper Hindustan Times reports:

[Indian] Muslim organisation has announced a “reward” of 1 Million Indian Rupees to behead Islamic scholar Tarek Fatah for allegedly promoting “un-Islamic” views through his TV programme.

The All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council also demanded an immediate ban on ‘Fateh ka Fatwa’, a television programme hosted by Fatah on a private news channel.

“Tarek Fatah is conspiring to disrupt harmony between Hindus and Muslims. He is as an agent of our enemies. He must be stopped at any cost and our organisation will pay Rs 10,00,786 to any person who will decapitate him,” said Moeen Siddique, head of the council.

“He and his programme are being funded by foreign enemies of our country and the government must initiate an inquiry against him,” Siddique said.

Fateh, a Canadian national of Pakistani origin, is known for his secular views against Islamic fundamentalism.

“In his programme, he claims that it is not required to wear a burqa and terms triple talaq [Sharia provision that allows husbands to divorce their wives instantly] as haram. Muslims must not listen to his advice and come forward against him,” said Siddique.

Other Muslim social organisations too voiced their resentment against Fatah.

Jamat Raza-e-Mustafa, another social organisation that works under the aegis of Dargah-e Ala Hazrat, has written a letter to the President Pranab Mukherjee, demanding a ban on the television programme and expulsion of Fatah from the country.

India is home to world’s second largest Muslim population. Numbering nearly 180 million, they make up for about 14 percent of the country’s population.

Fatah, a self-proclaimed liberal, supports gay rights and calls for a “progressive” version of Islam. Describing his plight Fatah wrote, “Other progressive writers of Muslim background have faced such threats and quite justifiably left India.”

Apparently, India with its growing Muslim population is not a ‘safe space’ for liberal Muslims anymore.

Watch: Dave Rubin Interviews “Bad Muslim” Tarek Fatah (March 2016)

[Cover image courtesy India Foundation, Youtube]