Research Project

Conversations on social media can cover a variety of sensitive topics, including religious relations. Nowadays, discourse on social media gives an intimate view of what everyone from politicians to ordinary people think about the state of religious relations in diverse democracies like India. The algorithms behind social media platforms also pave a path for conversations to turn dangerous and hateful. The Supreme Court ruling and the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ayodhya temple sparked discussions on Twitter about secularism, nationalism, and Hindi-Muslim relations in modern-day India. Tweets covered topics from casual chatter about the ceremony to hateful speech against both religions. This paper aims to gain insight into religious hate speech to understand religious movements in India by performing a computational analysis on tweets about the Ayodhya temple during August 2020. Understanding the themes of the national conversation and the characteristics of religious hate speech about this event is critical to creating a more secure society in India. Through this experimentation, I reveal the complexity of Hindu-Muslim relations regarding the Ayodhya temple construction.