Washington, D.C. – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released it’s 2020 Annual Report, documenting significant developments during 2019, including remarkable progress in Sudan and a sharp downward turn in India. Recommendations made to enhance the U.S. Government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad in 2020.
Every Indian and every Indian-American wants the best for India. A cohesive India where no Indian has to live in fear of the other. Ambassador at Large for religious freedom, Hon Sam Brownback has been eloquent in tying religious liberty with the prosperity of a nation. The Department of State held a few seminars on the same lines during the Ministerial. I have done my share of work in holding several workshops on the subject.
Who is responsible for earning such a shabby title? That India is a country of particular concern? Of course, it is the acts of Prime Minister Modi and the work of Indian Lobby including the Hindu America Foundation.
I wrote to the Hindu America Foundation (HAF) to part-take in a petition urging India to give visas to the commissioners of the United States Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF) – at least three times to prevent India from getting the label, “A country of particular concern.” The Hindutva (not Hinduism) lobby believed that if they can throw money, parties, influence, and favors at the congress, India will not get the title. Through the back channels HAF had opposed holding meetings on Capitol Hill about India’s religious freedom issues – three sessions had to be canceled, including one by the Center for Pluralism during the Ministerial program by the State Department.
In another briefing organized by the Indian American Muslim Council on Capitol Hill, I appealed to Jay Kansara, the then HAF’s government relations man. I urged him publicly to take the initiative and get the visas for the commissioners. Let them find the facts, if India’s government is clean, they will earn a clean chit, if not they will be labeled as “Country of Particular Concern” and have to work hard to restore India’s good name. Let me be clear – the Indian Government is not the same as the Indian people, unfortunately, the people around the world have elected authoritarians, hence, the acts of the government do not represent the will of the people. The will of the majority of the people is always good, they want to live and let others live their lives.
I pity “some” of my fellow Indians who are completely blinded in love for Mr. Modi and his party, as long as he makes the life of Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs miserable, these men will continue to love him. What kind of love is that?
Ultimately every Indian will pay the price, including the Bhakts (his worshippers). Modi will bring disaster to India, what India has gained in the last 30 years will be lost – we still have the time to correct the course, but Modi will not do it. I have written over 35 articles on his whimsical governance. Modi releases a lot of hot air -Sab Ka saath, sab ka Vikas, and sab ka Vishwas (support from everyone, everyone’s prosperity, and trust) to appease his base. He does not mean a word he says.
There is a pattern with the Prime Minister – he lets his men destroy as much as they want, and he won’t say a word to stop it. During the Gujarat massacre, he said to his men, “I will give you three days to finish (Muslims) the job and the mob brutally killed over a thousand people.” When the six-year-old Asifa was gang-raped and mutilated and thrown in a temple, the man did not say a word until the entire nation stood up, then he spoke – reluctantly. Now, the Gulf countries have started talking – he saw that his corrupt rich buddies would lose out business – so he spoke halfheartedly. You will find a big list of such instances.
I am concerned, what kind of civilization we are looking forward to in India? A culture of sadistic men killing fellow Indians, burning their homes, and torching their businesses with no consequence? You may be appalled I am appalled to hear the statements like “Muslims are termites,” and, “I will throw the immigrants into the Bay of Bengal” are ascribed to the Home Minister of India Mr. Amit Shah, a close confidant of Mr. Modi the Prime Minister.
On top of it, Modi will give those murderers tickets to run for the public office (equivalent to US Congressmen). I appeal to Modi Bhakts (his devotees) – to be selfish, look at the economic and social disaster Modi will bring to all Indians, including you. You will not gain anything by harassing your fellow Indians, whether they are Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and Dalits. You will not even get a Rupee! Don’t make India a Hindutva Taliban nation, in the end, you will lose too. Bad things don’t last.
Modis will come and go leaving behind a trail of destruction, we the people, Indians of all hues have to live together, let’s live without tension and fear of each other. Wake up and do what is right for you and your future.
I had challenged Modi to say the following sentence, and I had asked Dr. Bharat Barai, Modi’s left-hand man in America to convey to him. “I will not tolerate any Indian harassing other Indians, and I will not see my country divided. Those who spread hatred and hurt others will pay the price.” Would he say that? That is all it takes to change the situation – one simple sentence.
What did he do instead? He started making suggestive comments like we can identify them (Muslims) by their clothes and caps, and they will distribute Biryani (India’s favorite dish). His men got the cue, and amplified on it, and executed the subtle hate order.
It is still not late for Modi to take corrective action, not sweet talk, but implement strict rules against hate speeches and causing deaths. Whether it is coming from Yogi or his fellow Parliamentarians.
There is a way out for India, and that is allowing the USCIRF commissioners to visit India and present a detailed report. If the Government of India has clean hands in the deaths and massacres of thousands of fellow Indians in Kashmir, Gujarat, and other states, they will withdraw the shabby title, “the country of particular concern.” On the other hand, if the Government of India has dirty hands, they will list it and suggest corrective actions. Is there any Indian out there who does not want to do the right thing?
The panacea to the issue is to allow the USCIRF commissioners to go find the truth. India is our ally and has denied visas to our commissioners. I hope the President and the Secretary of State do not close their eyes to this blatant rejection to the members of its own body.
Here are some of the many ‘specific’ warnings about India’ earning’ that label.
January 2, 2020 – In a press release and the letter to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the following warnings were delivered. http://centerforpluralism.com/a-genocide-in-making-in-india-on-mike-pompeos-watch/
- A significant loss to America, an ally thus far, will become a “country of particular concern” and burden to the United States.
- India will not be a reliable bulwark against Chinese influence due to internal chaos and instability.
- India will not be an investment destination for Americans. The corporations with a conscience may not want to do business
- There are telltale signs of genocide in the making. If these trends continue, India may become a rogue nation like Nazi Germany and may be stuck in an Afghanistan-like situation for decades to come.
- The big losers will be Indians, the middle class, and the rich Indians who have made well in the last two decades, they stand to lose now.
- The Secretary can slap sanctions against Mr. Amit Shah and those involved in violations of human rights, as recommended by the USCIRF.
We have been urging fellow Indians to take the stand.
November 17, 2018 – “The Indian-Americans have a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a “Country of Particular Concern” by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).” http://centerforpluralism.com/indias_prosperity_hinges_on_religious_freedom/
Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is deeply committed to Religious Freedom, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace, and to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. Book information is at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com and his info at www.TheGhousediary.com
Mike frequently speaks to a full range of audiences in international, faith and interfaith, civic, educational, and community life. He would welcome the opportunity to talk to you and your communities, as well as to invite you to events and programs that he and the Center for Pluralism offer. He also welcomes your thoughts, comments, and inquiries.
October 29, 2019 – “To save India from getting slapped on a label of a country of particular concern, all that the Modi government has to do is issue visas to the commissioners of USCIRFT to visit India and report the facts.” I gave a presentation at the Liberty committee – http://www.theghousediary.com/india-report-presented-at-liberty-committee/
December 23, 2019 – “A significant loss to America, an ally thus far will become a “country of particular concern” and burden to the United States.” http://centerforpluralism.com/letter-to-the-secretary-of-state-mike-pompeo/
August 10, 2018 – “We need to come together and appeal to the Government of India, to issue visas to the commissioners of the USCIRF to investigate the Sikh Genocide, Massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, killing of Christians, Rapes, and lynching of Dalits, and harassment of Sikhs. If the commission gives a clean certificate, it will help boost the investor confidence in India; on the other hand, if India’s record is of particular concern, then it is time to fix it than pretending to be holier than thou.” http://centerforpluralism.com/whitewashing-indias-religious-freedom/
November 14, 2009 – “A good debate is warranted on the issue. Reference is made to the stand taken by USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom) listed below.” http://centerforpluralism.com/the-dangerous-idea-of-protecting-religions-from-defamation/
July 11, 2019 – “The economic prosperity of a nation is directly proportional to religious freedom. It frees people from the daily tensions of what to eat, drink, wear and believe, or loss of income. They become a productive employee and devoted members of their family and contributing to the prosperity of the nation.” http://centerforpluralism.com/religious-freedom-and-prosperity/
October 2, 2019 – “The Government of India to allow the Commissioners of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to visit Kashmir and Assam and enable them to report the facts on the ground.” http://www.theghousediary.com/india-is-treading-on-a-dangerous-path/
USCIRF PRESS RELEASE
THE PROSPERITY OF A NATION HINGES ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
HINDUTVA IS NOT HINDUISM