PoWR Event - IAMC

Defending Freedom & Human Rights

A Call to Conscience

2023 Parliament of the World's Religions

The 2023 Parliament Convening is an interfaith conference, as well as a multi-faith festival of global scale featuring jam-packed days of mainstage talks from luminaries, critical issue plenaries, interactive programs, profound spiritual performances, and this year – even a parade – all centering on a promise of peace, justice, and sustainability the interfaith movement organizes local and global activities around.

Join the 9th global Convening of the Parliament of the World's Religions gathering thousands of religious and civic leaders to advance opportunities for a new generation to participate in a historic legacy, what was at its beginnings the blueprint of interfaith dialogue 130 years ago is now returning to Chicago to continue to power a peaceful, just, and sustainable global movement.


Thursday August 17th, 2023

3:00 PM to 4:00 PM CST

Hall E256

Rasheed Ahmed

Ajit Sahi

Raqib Naik

Angana Chatterji (Virtual/recorded)

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, India’s 250 million Muslims have been increasingly reported to be at a risk of genocide. The BJP unabashedly promotes Hindutva, the ideology of Hindu nationalism that seeks to establish a Hindu India. This supremacist ideology has demonized, threatened and targeted India’s Muslims. The risk of a genocide of Muslims is also exemplified by open lynchings of Muslims by the so-called “cow vigilantes” who roam around the country attacking and killing Muslims by falsely accusing them of slaughtering the cow. Muslim-owned properties and businesses are targeted and destroyed. In Karnataka state, the government has banned Muslim girl students and teachers from wearing hijab to school or college. This discussion examines the escalating risk of genocide of India’s Muslims.

Friday, August 18th. 2023

8:00 AM to 9:00 AM CST

Room: E253a

Cedric Prakash

Rajinder Mago

Javeed Akhter

Sunita Vishvanath

Ever since self-avowed Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014, the country’s core pluralist and democratic fabric has undergone a drastic overhaul. India’s federal and state legislatures, federal and state governments, judiciary, and even the supposedly nonpartisan pillars of government such as the election commission, as well as non-State stakeholders such as the news media, the academia, cinema, and popular arts, have all succumbed to a narrow Hindu supremacist agenda, marginalizing and othering India’s 250 million Muslims. For the first time since India’s freedom from British colonial rule in 1947, a federal government has not a single Muslim minister. For the first time, India’s ruling party—Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—does not have a single Muslim as a member of Parliament. This ideology is essentially predicated on violence, both by non-State actors and by State as a primary agent.

Watch Live Stream


Angana P. Chatterji

Founding Co-chair – Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley

Angana P. Chatterji, PhD, is the Founding Co-chair, Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights Initiative at the Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley. A cultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scholar of South Asia, her work in India since 1989 spans issues of democracy, political violence, gender, law, religion, caste and nationalism.

Raqib Naik

Kashmiri Journalist and Founder – Hindutva Watch

Raqib Naik is a Kashmiri journalist and founder of Hindutva Watch, a research project that documents the rise of Hindu nationalism and the persecution of religious minorities in India. The project has been described by The Washington Post as one of India’s only and most comprehensive real-time datasets of hate crimes and hate speeches.

Rasheed Ahmed

Co-Founder and Former President – IAMC

Rasheed Ahmed is a co-founder and former President of the Indian American Muslim Council, and is currently serving as the organization’s Executive Director. He is also a Co-Founder and former President of the US India Policy Institute. His passion is to embed social good and social justice in philanthropic discourses and practices to make the world a better place.


Ajit Sahi

Advocacy Director – IAMC

Ajit Sahi a veteran journalist, and civil rights activist who works as an Advocacy Director at the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and is currently based in the US. Earlier Ajit worked as the executive editor of Tehelka weekly, where he was a political and investigative journalist. Apart from being a veteran journalist, Ajit is a dedicated campaigner for civil liberties, human rights, and religious freedom in India for over three decades.


Father Cedric Prakash, S.J.,

Activist & Founding Director – PRASHANT

Father Cedric Prakash, S.J., is a human rights and peace activist and the founding director of PRASHANT, A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. He is at the forefront on issues on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, minorities, and other vulnerable sections of society in Gujarat and in other parts of India. Father Prakash is a Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) of the Gujarat Province, and has also served as the convener of the Gujarat United Christian Forum for Human Rights.

Rajinder Singh Mago

Executive Secretary – Asian American Coalition of Chicago

Rajinder Singh Mago emigrated to the United States from Punjab, India in 1971. He worked as an Engineer Senior Manager for 42 years with Navistar Inc. in Lisle, Illinois. Now retired, Mago serves in a variety of roles including his role as the Community Outreach and Media Coordinator of Sikh Religious Society in Palatine Illinois. He is also the Co-founder of Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, and a Trustee Emeritus, The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Sunita Viswanath

Executive Director -Hindus for Human Rights

Sunita Viswanath is the Executive Director of Hindus for Human Rights She has worked for over 30 years in women’s rights and human rights organizations. Sunita co-founded Hindus for Human Rights in June 2019, and also serves as a board member. Sunita is one of five Hindus appointed to NYC Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ Faith Transition Team; and the only Hindu in the December 2021 Marquis Who’s Who list of faith-based influencers.

Dr. Javeed Akhter

Medical Doctor & Writer

Dr. Javeed Akhter is a medical doctor specializing in Pediatric Pulmonology based in Oak Lawn, Illinois. With a passion for human rights, Akhter has written and contributed to various news articles about Hindu extremism in India, including works in The Chicago Tribune, The Times of India, and The Indian Express among others.