Islamophobia taking most lethal form in India: Noam Chomsky, Harsh Mander

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and 16 other reputed organisations held a Congressional briefing on February 9 calling the treatment of Indian Muslims during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule “lethal,” “horrific,” and a threat to democratic values.

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The meeting saw the likes of human rights activist Harsh Mander, popular for his program Karwan-e-Mohabbat (Caravan of love) which has worked against the establishment’s constant assault on minorities. The briefing also heard the views of public intellectual and MIT professor Noam Chomsky, who in the past has spoken against and written about the atrocities that Palestinian Muslims were plagued with.

“[Islamophobia is] taking its most lethal form in India, where the Modi government is systematically dismantling Indian secular democracy and turning the country into a Hindu ethnocracy, with almost 250 million Muslims becoming a persecuted minority,” said Professor Noam Chomsky.

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Harsh Mander, who was recently recommended for the Nobel peace prize for his activism, said India’s “immense tragedy” was that people “steeped deeply in the Hindu supremacist ideology that spurred Gandhi’s killing are in fact ruling India today. India’s leaders are more determined than ever to push the country down this horrific path of hate, fear and blood.”

Mander, whose Karwan-E-Mohabbat program helps provide support to the families of mob lynching victims, said India was witnessing early signs of an impending genocide.

“It is tempting for supporters of the ruling establishment to dismiss claims of possible genocide as alarmist… and ‘foreign’ interference, and not efforts ‘to alert the national conscience,’” Mander said. “But the Holocaust Memorial Museum Report warns of the dangers of such denial. ‘We know from the Holocaust what can happen when early warning signs go unheeded.’”

He further said, “Online and in public gatherings, a range of other extreme right-wing supporters… are even more candid in spouting their hate, openly calling for boycotts and expulsions, mass killing, genocide and mass rape. Sometimes for the record a thin official line is drawn, claiming official distance from these ‘fringe’ elements. But this claim wears thin because hatemongers are rarely punished, get bail quickly if at all they are arrested, many are instead inducted into party positions.”

Despite condemnation from respected intellectuals and academics, there is no clear solution at play for the atrocities Muslims in India time and again have to deal with.

The briefing was co-hosted by 17 organizations, including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch, 21Wilberforce, Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, International Christian Concern, Jubilee Campaign, Dalit Solidarity Forum, New York State Council of Churches, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, India Civil Watch International, Students Against Hindutva Ideology, Center for Pluralism, American Muslim Institution, International Society for Peace and Justice, Association of Indian Muslims of America, and the Humanism Project (Australia).

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