New Jersey civil rights groups brief DOJ, FBI, USAG office on extremist Hindutva ideology, its US-based practitioners
American Muslims for Democracy, Hindus for Human Rights, and Indian American Muslim Council hold dialogue with officials at United Against Hate event
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edison, New Jersey (November 23, 2022) – The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event here.
At the event titled “United Against Hate” organized here last week, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the U.S.
Attending the event were David S. Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E. Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the U.S. Attorney General’s Office; and Jonathan R. Norbut of the U.S. Department of Justice. The law enforcement officials took questions during the panel from community members, who raised concerns about safety.
“As American citizens, we have a responsibility to ensure we stand for justice for all. We need to be aware of this development that’s occurring in the United States,” said Dr. Ali Chaudry, Board Member of AMD. “We cannot have any group coming in and intimidating [people], whether it’s a bulldozer or speeches or appearing at Teaneck Council meetings, or in Woodbridge, or Edison or anywhere in the country.”
Mohammad Jawad, President, New Jersey Chapter, IAMC, made a presentation on the origins of Hindu supremacism in India as a far-right reactionary ideology a century ago.
“The [Hindutva movement] is… running programs parallel to those in Germany in 1937. India’s Hindu extremists are calling for genocide against Muslims,” Jawad said. “What is really being done to stop it? Because the international community is not doing as much as we want.”
“America today is in a moment of deep reckoning with racism, which is a very good thing,” said Sunita Vishwanath, Executive Director, Hindus for Human Rights. “But the most public-facing expression of my community – I am talking about many Hindu American organizations – are taking advantage of the country’s deep thinking about racism and treatment of communities of color to peddle Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism, or Hindu fascism.”
“So when you meet people from the Hindu community, remember that if they are talking about the problem of Hinduphobia and denying the harmful ideology of Hindutva, they are peddling fascism, and they do not represent all Hindus.”
“The conversations that we’re having here are very important,” said DOJ’s Norbut. “It’s to inform us and to inform the community, and to continue the dialogue so that organizations such as yours can continue to inform the US government and work to influence foreign policy.”