Indian Muslim delegation meets New Jersey lawmakers for probe in Hindu supremacist bigotry
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Trenton, New Jersey (October 05, 2022) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to peace, pluralism, and social justice, has urged New Jersey’s state legislators to condemn Islamophobic hate and bigotry being propagated by Hindu supremacists in the state, and seek an investigation into their links to India’s Hindu supremacist movement.
An IAMC delegation met several lawmakers and officials from the state General Assembly and the Senate on Monday and presented them with documentary evidence of Hindu supremacist hate and the organizations behind them, both in the US and India.
“New Jersey’s lawmakers have a duty towards their constituents to ensure that the alien hate ideology of Hindu supremacism is stopped at the state’s borders and not allowed to vitiate the peace here,” Mohammad Jawad, president of the New Jersey chapter of IAMC, said. “Every lawmaker we spoke with at Trenton fully agreed with this objective.”
The IAMC delegation informed the lawmakers of the bigoted display of a bulldozer at a parade called by the Indian Business Association (IBA), an Indian American organization, in the state’s Edison and Woodbridge cities on August 14. Initially defending the bulldozer’s float, the IBA later apologized saying it was a “blatant divisive symbol.”
“We asked the lawmakers to seek federal investigation into the links of the IBA and the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), whose leaders were prominently present at the hate parade, with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s preeminent Hindu supremacist organization that is persecuting India’s religious minorities,” Jawad said.
The IAMC leaders urged the New Jersey lawmakers to ask the Biden Administration to revoke the visa of Sambit Patra, an Islamophobic leader from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who was the grand marshall at the August 14 parade, and of Sadhvi Rithambra, an anti-Muslim Hindu supremacist hate-monger who was invited by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) to New Jersey last month.
The IAMC delegation also informed the lawmakers of the Islamophobic speech made by a Hindu resident of New Jersey named Vivek at a meeting of the Teaneck City Council on September 20, 2022, in the presence of City Council members. “It is beyond shocking that the Teaneck city council leaders did not immediately stop and evict the person for misusing their platform to abuse Islam and Muslims,” Jawad told the state lawmakers.
The IAMC leaders met with Assemblywomen Nancy F Munoz, Mila Jasey, Lisa Swain, and Michele Matsikoudis; and Assemblymen Raj Mukherji, William W. Spearman, John F. Mckeon, Gary S. Schaer, Sterley S. Stanley, Roy Freiman, and Antwan McClellan, among others.
The meetings with lawmakers involved over a hundred Muslims from across the state participating in an Advocacy Day outreach called by the Council on American-Islamic Relations New Jersey (CAIR-NJ). The Advocacy Day aimed to strengthen New Jersey Muslims’ relationships with the state’s lawmakers and their offices, to educate them about concerns about increasing Islamophobia and denial of civil liberties to Muslims.
The Muslim attendees advocated for the Defining Islamophobia Bill (A465/S2368), Maintaining the Religion of Foster Children Bill (A1050), and Establishing Same-Day Voter Registration (A1966/S247). They also brought to the table the resolution Condemning People’s Republic of China’s Treatment of Uyghurs – (AR128/SR79).
The Muslims urged the lawmakers to designate a month in the year as Muslim Awareness and Appreciation Month.