Open letter to Economic Times
Mr. Bodhisatva Ganguli
The Economic Times
Mr. Javed Sayed
Associate Executive Editor
The Economic Times
Subject: Urging removal of baseless defamatory allegations against IAMC
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: Police identifies social media conspiracy posts originating outside India,” authored by Bikash Singh and published on The Economic Times website on November 15, 2021. Citing unnamed government sources, this article alleges that IAMC has “links with the Jel network of Pakistan and of supporting Taliban and lobbying with foreign organisations against India in connivance with the ISI.”
This is a patently false statement with no basis in fact. We categorically state that IAMC is not linked with JEI (Jamaat-e-lslami) in Pakistan, it does not support the Taliban, and it has no connection with the ISI. The article falsely claims IAMC is part of an “anti-India” lobby.
As a reputed publication, it was incumbent upon you to reach out to IAMC before echoing the allegations from unnamed sources. Yet, your reporter failed to contact us even though our phone number and email ID are listed on our website, www.iamc.com.
Astoundingly, your article has offered no evidence in support of its defamatory claims. This mala fide conduct violates the essential principles of journalism: fairness, balance and truth. This defamatory article has damaged IAMC’s reputation and goodwill globally.
In nearly 20 years, no U.S. law enforcement agency, or any department of the U.S. federal government or state governments or county governments, 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.
Had your reporter done even elementary research, they would have found that, for two decades, IAMC has steadfastly advocated to uphold India’s pluralist, secular Constitution inspired by the ideals preached and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi.
Over decades, 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 and The Advocates for Human Rights, among 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 issue a public apology to IAMC.
Indian American Muslim Council