From the category archives:

Press release

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has condemned the forced conversion of Muslims in Agra as well as the government’s suggested “remedy”, of pushing the anti-conversion bill, currently adopted in five states across India, as brazen attacks on the nation’s Constitution. News reports indicate 200 Muslims were made to participate in a ceremony, “converting” them to Hinduism. The individuals later denied having changed their faith, and referred to false promises as well as intimidation at the hands of the Hindutva militant organizations as the reason for their participation in the ceremony.

The fact that an RSS offshoot is seeking donations to convert Muslims and Christians in Aligarh to Hinduism on December 25th, also exposes the Sangh’s hypocritical position on the issue of religious conversion. While genuine religious conversion is a personal choice that should be respected, the Hindu nationalist organizations have championed anti-conversion laws, ostensibly to combat the very tactics they are now adopting. In practice the laws are used to curtail conversions out of personal choice, and thus represent a further constricting of the religious freedom landscape.

The movement to forcibly convert India’s minorities, mainly Christians, Muslims and Dalits to Hinduism, is being spearheaded by offshoots of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) such as the Bajrang Dal, that have been implicated in some of the worst massacres of minorities in recent Indian history. In the context of the rapid increase in violence and a sustained hate campaign against minorities, the forced conversion drive is another attempt to undermine India’s secular fabric. The anti-conversion laws, on the other hand, compel the individual seeking to convert to solicit permission from the state, and represents an unconstitutional intrusion in a matter of personal religious belief. The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion has referred to such laws as threats to religious freedom.

The government’s duplicity on this issue is further evidence that the new administration led by the BJP, itself an offshoot of the RSS, is actively pursuing the Hindutva agenda that seeks to remake India as a Hindu nation where minorities are relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Social analysts and thinkers believe the Hindu ultra-nationalist movement is also manipulating Dalits to further their own supremacist agenda.

“Compelling individuals to adopt one faith, while actively seeking to curtail genuine conversions out of that faith, exposes the desire to impose a majoritarian agenda on the country. It is also a travesty of international norms, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which India is a signatory,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The fissures within the NDA government are a natural outcome of the narrow and divisive agenda being pursued by BJP leaders and Hindu supremacist organizations aligned with the RSS,” added Mr. Khan.

In recent years, religious conversion issues came to the fore when Swami Aseemanand, a senior Sangh leader who is currently on trial in a series of bombings in India, revealed howhe spearheaded the forced conversion programme of the Sangh in Gujarat’s Dangs district, that involved destruction of at least thirty churches just between mid-December of 1998 and mid-January of the following year. His fiery zeal to convert the tribal’s did not involve any concern for alleviating their poverty or social status. Aseemanand was later rewarded by the RSS for his violent tactics when he was granted the annual Shri Guruji award. The bombings for which Aseemanand is currently in prison, had a combined toll of over 85 lives, and were initially blamed on Muslim youth, for which they were illegally incarcerated.

IAMC has called upon the BJP-led administration, to rethink its approach to India’s resurgence. Creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation and heaping abuse on minorities will gain neither respect nor influence on the world stage. On the contrary, India’s vision for development can be seriously compromised if it involves the alienation of minorities, representing a population of over 250 million.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.

For more information, please visit http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

Groups Linked to RSS Claim Conversion of 200 Muslims into Hinduism in Agra
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/groups-linked-to-rss-claim-conversion-of-200-muslims-into-hinduism-in-agra-632305

Lure of ration cards led to Agra ‘reconversion’?
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45443004.cms

RSS body seeks donations to fund Christmas ‘conversions’ in Aligarh
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45484672.cms

Woman booked under anti-conversion law
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/30164030.cms

UN Official: India’s ‘Conversion’ Laws Threaten Religious Freedom
http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/03/10/un-official-indias-conversion-laws-threaten-religious-freedom/

MDMK’s exit sets NDA thinking
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mdmks-exit-sets-nda-thinking/article6674139.ece

Indian Agra Muslim fear conversions to Hinduism
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30429118

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Expressions of solidarity with Christians in India, condemnation of hate speech by BJP Minister Niranjan Jyoti


 

Washington D.C – Wednesday, December 03, 2014
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos,has condemned the burning of St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Delhi on December 1, 2014 as an attack on India’s religious minorities.

Early forensic investigations indicate kerosene was used to start the fire, confirming fears that this was a targeted arson attack, suspiciously close to Christmas. The sanctuary, sacristy and the first floor balcony have been gutted completely in the attack that follows a pattern of similar attacks against churches throughout the country.

 

IAMC has also condemned the deplorable hate speech by BJP Minister Niranjan Jyoti during an election rally in Delhi. The foul language used by a Union Minister, including expletives as references to minorities represents a nadir in our public discourse, and provides fuel for sectarian violence like the one against the Catholic Church in Delhi.

There has been a marked increase in violence and hate campaigns against minorities in India, since the BJP has come to power. Prominent watch-dog group “International Christian Concern,” reported an alarming rise in the attacks on rural churches in recent months. In May 2014, several villages in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh passed local ordinances banning all non-Hindu religious activities, in effect banning Christianity. Vatican Radio, the Holy See’s official news outlet, reported on the possibility of Christians being “purged,” from villages across three states.

A relentless hate campaign against minorities, including conspiracy theories of Muslims luring Hindu girls into marriage as a form of “love jihad,” and the forced “re-conversions” of Christians to Hinduism, has resulted in a feeling of siege among India’s minorities. In this context, Prime Minister Modi’s announcement that December 25th will be observed as “Good Governance Day,” is deeply insensitive to the sentiments of Christians, given the day is observed as Christmas in most parts of the world, including by Christians in India.

IAMC has demanded that the Special Investigation Team that has been constituted to investigate the attack be asked to probe the political motives behind the attack, given that elections are due in Delhi. In the Trilokpuri riots in October this year, locals have observed that outside forces were in the forefront of fomenting violence.

“Polarization of communities through violence and intimidation prior to the elections is a pattern that is repeating itself across the country,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “We stand in full solidarity with the Christian community against this dastardly attack on a place of worship,” added Mr. Khan.
IAMC has called upon the government and civil society to further safeguard the country from extremism, through inclusive development and by upholding the principle of equality before the law for all citizens, irrespective of caste or creed.
Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation.
For more information please visit www.iamc.com
CONTACT (IAMC): 
Indian American Muslim Council
Ishaq Syed
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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India’s 68th Independence Day – A time to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism

August 15, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs […]

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Supreme Court’s Acquittal of innocents in Surat 1993 bomb blasts case hailed by Indian Americans

July 20, 2014

Case is indicative of corruption in lower courts, logjam in judiciary July 20, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has lauded the landmark Supreme Court judgment acquitting the 11 innocent people accused of having carried out the bomb blasts in Surat (Gujarat) […]

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Bigoted accusations against Fr. Cedric Prakash condemned by Indian Americans

June 2, 2014

Goa Chief Minister in a smear campaign against the stalwart of secular voices in India June 02, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has strongly condemned Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent accusations on Fr. Cedric Prakash. Speaking at a press briefing […]

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All Indians need to be vigilant in safeguarding secularism say Indian Americans

May 26, 2014

Muslim community urged to work towards development and pursuit of justice May 26, 2014 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on all Indians to be vigilant in safeguarding the secular institutions under the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) administration. It has also […]

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Mukul Sinha’s demise a loss for justice and accountability say Indian Americans

May 14, 2014

Renowned activist will always be remembered for his tireless struggle to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Gujarat pogroms and fake encounter killings. May 14, 2014 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed grief and a profound sense of loss over the […]

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Atrocities against Assamese Muslims must cease now, demand Indian Americans

May 8, 2014

Grief and outrage over merciless killing of women and children in Assam in the din of elections May 08, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned the gruesome massacre in Assam that has claimed the lives of 43 people, most of […]

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IAMC Calls on TIME Magazine to disqualify Indian politicians from TIME 100 online poll

April 23, 2014

Automated bogus voting attempts to create fake popularity for Indian politicians in the midst of elections April 22, 2014 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC, http://iamc.com), a group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on TIME magazine to disqualify Indian politicians from the 2014 TIME 100 online poll. Millions of fake online votes […]

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US Congressional Hearing highlights plight of minorities in India

April 7, 2014

Broad range of experts call for inclusion of human rights and religious freedom in the US-India Strategic Dialogue. April 4th 2014: Coalition Against Genocide (CAG – http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org/), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, today welcomed the congressional hearing on the subject of minorities and religious freedom in […]

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