Newsletter (Jan 2024): We raised our voices during the Ram Temple consecration & more
As salamu alaykum!
We are pleased to let you know that IAMC is kicking off 2024 strong. Here’s everything we did in January.
- IAMC participated in the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit, the world’s largest interfaith gathering in Washington DC
- Published five op-eds on the Ram Temple consecration, Babri Masjid, and other pressing issues
- Organized a Congressional Briefing on the Ram Temple consecration and its implications for Indian democracy
Keep scrolling to learn more about each of these achievements in detail.
IAMC AT THE IRF SUMMIT & IRF ROUND TABLE
IAMC’s Advocacy team attended the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit, the world’s largest interfaith gathering, where we educated attendees, distributed materials, and did on-camera interviews with prominent international religious freedom fighters such as former United States senator & Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Katrina Lantos Swett. We represented Indian Muslim issues at the IRF Round Table meeting – the largest round table in event’s history.
Our Advocacy Director Ajit Sahi was featured as a speaker on another panel titled “Blasphemy and Violence Across India,” alongside religious freedom defenders like Nadine Maenza, President of the IRF Secretariat. You can listen to his powerful speech here.
The summit also held a panel discussion on “Challenges in India for Non-Majority Faiths,” featuring Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Senior Editor of the Indian publication The Wire, as a speaker. You can watch her speech here.
CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON RAM TEMPLE & IMPLICATIONS FOR DEMOCRACY
Our first Congressional briefing of the year was a Republic Day special focused on the newly inaugurated Ram Temple— a major blow to India’s constitutional values of secularism and fraternity.
The Congressional briefing, titled “India’s New Temple: Demolishing Democracy, Building a Hindu Nation”, raised awareness about the history of Ram Temple, debunked myths about the Babri Masjid, and pointed out the dangerous spike of Hindu supremacism and anti-minority violence surrounding the temple’s consecration.
Speakers included journalist Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, as well as activist and writer Meena Kandasamy. You can watch the full recording here.
IAMC MEDIA TEAM
December and January were filled with major events: the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony, the anniversary of Gandhi’s assassination. We covered all these issues and more in our latest op-eds:
- The Diplomat: How India Betrayed Mahatma Gandhi
- Truthout: “Free-Speech Absolutist” Musk Is Abetting Modi’s Suppression of Voices in India
- Religion News Service: A celebrated temple in India is also a symbol of the country’s anti-Muslim campaign
- Religion Unplugged: Inside The Crisis Faced By Thousands Of Mosques In India
- American Kahani: A Republic in Ruins: How Some Indian American Hindus Use Hindutva to Attack Constitutional Values in America
IAMC was also mentioned 13 times in US and international media outlets, including in Al Jazeera, The Wire, Democracy Now, and Counterview. You can see all of our press mentions here.
Our chapters jumped straight into the new year with educational events, outreach, and celebrations of Indian Muslim heritage. Read more about their achievements below:
- Spoke on the role of Muslims in India’s freedom struggle at the India American Cultural Association (IACA) Republic Day event in the presence of India’s Consul General
- Met with Congressman Rich McCormick and questioned him on his endorsement by Hindu PAC and his visit to India
- Marched in Washington, D.C.’s massive rally for Palestine near the White House
- Actively participating in and managing GA Phone banking group activity to make hundreds of calls daily to Senators and Congresspeople
- Attended GA Senate hearing on HB30 bill to oppose any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic
- Attended a talk organized by GAMAC (Georgia Muslim Action Committee) to educate about Palestine’s history by a Palestinian Historian Kareem Rosshander
- Held a successful fundraiser in December and continued collecting funds throughout January.
- Joined a task force to urge people to register to vote and support non-Zionist and non-Hindutva candidates; attended multiple meetings on the strategy of the Muslims in these constituencies.
- Met with Congressman Ro Khanna and discussed the issues of Muslims in India and the need to strongly support Palestine.
- Led the effort to counter the Senator Aisha Wahab recall, organized long-term action plan.
- Attended events with Sami Hamidi and with the focus of educating the community on the threat of Hindutva.
- Commemorated Indian Republic Day on 28th Jan along with several coalition partners, including Boston Study Group (BSG), BSAC, and Hindus for Human Rights.
- Started working with masajid to book dates to educate the community about Hindutva during Ramadan.
- Held chapter fundraiser.
- Began working towards organizing a youth leadership seminar in April.
- Met with TX Governor Gregg Abbott and TX State Representative Matt Shaheen to present Pieter Friedrich’s new book “Saffron America”.
- Sent emails to all local masajid requesting fundraising slots in Ramadan.
- Took part in voter mobilization efforts all across DFW and voter registration events at almost all masajid in DFW.
- Educated community members about the history of Babri Masjid and the steps forward in Irving Masjid.
- Attended Republic Day event organized by the Indian Association of North Texas
- Represented in local MLK Day event.
- Joined with coalition partner AMD to celebrate first Muslim Heritage Month in New Jersey; set up up information table during celebration.
- Helped organize library displays in Edison and Woodbridge of books written by and about Muslims authors, scientists, leaders, and great thinkers.
- Hosted Republic Day celebration with a speech and drawing contest for children.
- Participated in Muslim Advocacy Day organized by movechamber.org in Richmond City; met with Representatives of Virginia in the Legislative Assembly to address bills of significance to the Muslim community.
- Held a Richmond Chapter meeting for members; had a Brainstorming session on activities to be conducted within the chapter.
- Initiated planning for a roadshow in Ramadan for masajid in the Richmond area.
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