NYT Article – “Saris and Chuppahs”

I came across this article today from the New York Times, a quick bit on the Israeli population that has originally come from India. Rather than fully assimilate, they have kept some Indian traditions – the bride in the article talks about having a traditional henna ceremony & a ladies’ sangeet before the Jewish ceremonies. It’s an interesting and quick read, but one thing that stuck out for me was this:

What you also won’t see, however, is a great deal of political activism. Asked about her feelings over Iran and the broader Middle East, Ms. Talker-Shefer says, “I am just an Israeli. In India, most of them are Muslims. And the rest of them are Hindu. But me, I’m Israeli.”

This is… blatantly incorrect, and I’m not sure whether it is purely ignorance, determined religious bias, or something else (possibly a mistranslation if the interview was conducted in Hebrew, or a simple slip of the finger!).

Most of India is Hindu (~80%), followed by Muslim (~13%), Christian (~2.3%), Sikh (1.9%), Buddhist (0.8%), Jain (0.4%), and the ambiguous “other” that covers Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and other faiths at 0.6%. So… maybe the speaker is just silly and doesn’t actually know demographics, or perhaps there was a mistake in the quote, but it annoys me that the New York Times wouldn’t even make a citation to note that her statement about most Indians being Muslims is factually incorrect. A few people mention it in the comments below, and I’m hoping the NYT will make an editor’s note.

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