Letter to Scroll.in Urging Removal of baseless defamatory allegations against IAMC
Mr. Naresh Fernandes
Subject: Urging removal of baseless defamatory allegations against IAMC
Dear Mr. Fernandes,
I represent Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a bona fide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Washington, D.C.
Since its founding in 2002, IAMC has been widely recognized in the US Congress, the US Government and other key stakeholders for its advocacy on human rights, civil and political liberties, and religious freedom in India and the U.S.
I write to you in reference of a news item, “Tripura violence: Chief minister asks police to review UAPA cases against lawyers, journalists,” authored by “Scroll Staff” and
authored by Debraj Deb and published on www.scroll.in website.
Quoting The Indian Express, your article says that “an unidentified official from the chief minister’s office said that the photos and videos shared from the social media accounts were fake and a part of the conspiracy to disturb the law and order in Tripura.”
It is disappointing that a fair and balanced news outlet such as yours, which we in the civil society respect greatly, failed to do a basic fact check. Had your staff searched on Twitter they would have found that the @IAMCouncil twitter handle belongs to IAMC.
By providing a hyperlink to the news article on The Indian Express, you have served to validate the baseless and patently false statements included in that article without any basis in fact. We categorically state that IAMC is not linked with any terrorist network of Pakistan, it does not support the Taliban, and it has no connection with the ISI.
Your staff could have easily reached out to us, via Twitter or via our website, www.iamc.com, which prominently lists our email and phone number. It was incumbent upon you to reach out to IAMC before echoing another news organization’s baseless allegations that themselves are sourced to unnamed sources.
Neither The Indian Express article nor yours has offered no evidence to support the defamatory claims. This mala fide conduct violates the essential principles of journalism: fairness, balance and truth and has damaged IAMC’s reputation and goodwill globally.
In nearly 20 years of IAMC’s existence, no U.S. law enforcement agency or any department of the U.S. federal government or state governments or county administrations has ever investigated, leave alone accuse, IAMC of any wrongdoing or associating with any foreign government or its agencies or terror groups. No Indian law enforcement agency has ever accused IAMC or cited any evidence against it for alleged connections with any terrorist group.
For nearly two decades, IAMC has steadfastly advocated to uphold India’s pluralist, secular Constitution inspired by the ideals preached and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi.
For years, numerous U.S. Congress members have commended and supported IAMC’s advocacy and campaigns. In July, US Senator Ed Markey, Congressman Andy Levin and Congresswoman Marie Newman joined a Congressional Briefing organized by IAMC at the International Religious Freedom Summit held in Washington, D.C. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Nadine Maenza and Commissioner Anurima Bhargava, too, have addressed such briefings.
IAMC addressed the National Prayer Breakfast as part of a global panel of human rights defenders organized by the U.S. Department of State in February 2020. IAMC works with global organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Genocide Watch, The Advocates for Human Rights, Open Doors, International Christian Concern, 21Wilberforce, among many others.
IAMC’s thousands of volunteers are proud of their Indian origin and have deep connections with India. It is preposterous to suggest that IAMC is anti-India.
I urge you to immediately withdraw the false and fabricated allegations against IAMC from the above-mentioned news article and publish my letter prominently on your website.
Indian American Muslim Council