Justin Trudeau offends some Hindus with 'Diwali Mubarak' tweet

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a Diwali ceremony in Ottawa on October 16, 2017. Photo from The Canadian Press.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a bit of backlash this week for a tweet he made about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

The post published Monday night said: “Diwali Mubarak! We’re celebrating in Ottawa tonight. #HappyDiwali!”

It was accompanied by a photo of the Liberal leader lighting a lamp while wearing a black sherwani, which is a coat-like article of clothing worn by Indian men.

The message seemed simple enough, but it quickly turned into a debate online over the use of the word “Mubarak,” which means “blessed.” Mubarak is an Arabic word often used in languages such as Urdu and Hindi as part of a blessing during celebrations.

Some were quick to say the word has ties to Arabic and is more often associated with the Muslim holidays known as Eid, which is celebrated twice a year.

Catch News, an English-language news website focused on Indian issues, referred to Trudeau’s intentions as being “pure.”

Here’s how some people responded to Trudeau’s tweet, which received nearly as many replies (around 1,400) as retweets (more than 3,800) as of Thursday evening.

“That’s Arabic, Justin,” one Twitter user wrote.


“Nobody says Diwali Mubarak,” another person replied.


“You really have Islam on the brain,” a woman named Sofia Kefi chimed in. “What is this Diwali Mubarak you speak of?”


“Please don’t disrespect Hindus,” a commenter said.


According to a Twitter user named Bravesh Pandey, the proper celebratory message is “Diwali Ki Badhai.”


The prime minister did not issue an apology for his choice of words, but maybe next year he will be more careful with his annual tweet about the Hindu celebration.