US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has again regurgitated staple propaganda generated by Islamists, Christian evangelists and other Hinduphobes. Speaking at the release of the annual charade which is the release of the US State Department’s report on the ‘state of freedom of religion around the world’, Blinken claimed there are “rising attacks on people at places of worship in India”.
Anther senior US State Department official chimed in to accuse Bharatiya officials of “ignoring or even supporting” these alleged attacks. Neither official named names or made any specific mention of incidents. The entire report on Bharat can be seen here. It is full of cherry-picked incidents, innuendo, allegations levelled by Hindu-bashing Western-funded evangelical Christian bodies like EFI (Evangelical Fellowship of India) and so-called secular NGOs like United Against Hate (its members like Khalid Saifi, Umar Khalid are currently in jail for their role in the 2020 Delhi riots), or data picked from biased articles in anti-Hindu US media outlets like NYT.
The US state department’s report is a complete inversion of the situation on the ground. Hindus are at the receiving end of relentless attacks in the form of: targeted terror attacks in Kashmir; pogroms like the post-poll violence in West Bengal; deadly attacks on festival processions; grooming and rape of Hindu women who are objectified as legitimate targets by fanatical Muslim clerics; temple vandalisms; state-condoned sacrilege and denigration of Hindu Dharma by Christian pastors, missionaries and radical Dalit activists in states like AP and TN; and myriad other incidents of random unceasing low-level scattered violence.
Meet the Indian American responsible for this Hinduphobic, ill-informed report
The misleading report was brought out under the leadership of Rashad Hussain, the US State Department’s ‘Ambassador-at-Large’ for international religious freedom.
Hussain is the son of Indian immigrants from Bihar. He has led a diverse career as an attorney, professor and diplomat, and also served as a close aide of former President Obama. Hussain’s conservative critics in America once dubbed him the ‘voice of radical Islam’. Not surprisingly, Hussain had also waded into Bharat’s PFI-manufactured hijab row with an ill-informed take.
But the State Department did throw a crumb of comfort India’s way by not naming us as a “country of particular concern” (CPC), disregarding a recommendation from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created in 1998 by Bill Clinton to act as a ‘watchdog on global religious rights’, for the second successive year. USCIRF is a thinly veiled pro-evangelical organisation that has now started giving a seat to deracinated ‘Hindus’ like Anurima Bhargava too.
One just has to look at the list of nations designated in the CPC category by USCIRF to understand that these classifications and reports on ‘religious freedom’ by the US government are not worth the paper they are printed on –
Bharat has been clubbed in the CPC list (the worst countries) alongside likes of Pakistan and Iran! Even Afghanistan, a country where Hindus and Sikhs have been totally exterminated over the last 4 decades, is deemed better than us and only deemed a ‘Special Watch List’ country.
Bangladesh is missing from both lists altogether! A country where Hindus have been reduced from 22% in 1951 to around 9% today, where Bangladesh’s own Muslim academics have estimated Hindus will vanish by 2050 due to incessant persecution (driving migration to Bharat, or conversion to Islam) – is not a ‘country of particular concern’ for US.
Pakistan’s Islamist fanaticism is so extreme, and Saudi’s medieval sharia implementation so horrifying, that they had to be included in the list. But both countries are staunch US allies, so this ranking doesn’t mean much and Blinken doesn’t even talk about them. The State department issues them a waiver, saying “Secretary of State redesignated Pakistan as a CPC under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, as amended, for having engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom and issued a waiver of the sanctions that accompany the designation in the national interests of the United States.”
And don’t miss some of the other names in the CPC list – China, Russia, Vietnam, Syria, Burma, North Korea. What is the common thread? They are all geopolitical adversaries of the USA or country’s that have refused to toe the American line. Turkey’s Erdogan is no less ruthless in dealing with minorities like Kurds, than Syria’s Assad. But Turkey is a member of NATO and a key military ally for US in an important part of the world. So Syria bad, Turkey good!
Do partners behave like this?
Not only is the US-led West pumping staggering amount of money and resources for the conversion of Hindus and other indigenous religious people around the world, they have the gall to lecture us when we resist this religious & cultural genocide.
Even after the recent 2+2 dialogue, Blinken had said in a joint press conference with foreign minister S Jaishankar that the US is “monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials”. Jaishankar had responded later by saying that Bharat too has its views about human rights in the US.
This time too, the Ministry of External Affairs has rejected Blinken’s remarks as as ill informed and urged the US to “avoid making assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views”. Reacting sharply to the report and the State Department comments, the ministry of external affairs issued a release stating they they have noted the “ill informed comments by senior US officials”.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in international relations. We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided.” “As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussions with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence,” he added.
However, the good work done by MEA in dismissing Blinken’s remarks and the biased US report has been undone by the way we caved in to a terror-promoting country like Qatar and the Arab world in general over Nupur Sharma’s remarks on a TV debate. As is evident to anyone who has watched that clip, Nupur and other Hindu panelists like Ratan Sharda were goaded by the disrespect shown by Islamist Tasleem Rehmani (member of a radical terror outfit like PFI) towards the Shivling found at the Gynavapi site. An angry Nupur only asked whether he would like it if she mocked certain things about Islam and went on to quote a Muslim hadith (scripture).
It would have been understandable if BJP had suspended Nupur, pending a detailed probe into the entire debate and the open mockery of Shivlings that had been ongoing for the last few days ever since the video survey at the Gyanvapi site. Although she clearly did not say anything with malice and was only reacting with a ‘what if’ statement after facing sustained denigration of her Dharma and Bhagwan, such a step would have made sense to calm tempers knowing how Islamists resort to deadly violence at the drop of a hat.
To any country raising this issue, our MEA could have replied that the matter is being investigated, that prima facie there was a grave provocation which generated the remark in question, that adherents of all religions in Bharat are expected to maintain mutual respect, and that our partners should trust Bharat’s legal process. We could also have used this opportunity to remind countries like Qatar that despite having a significant Hindu Bharatiya expat population, they still haven’t accorded official recognition to Hindu Dharma, which means that Hindus can’t practise their faith in public there.
Instead, we labelled Nupur a ‘fringe element’, and even her suspension letter that contained her address was leaked, increasing the security risk to her manifold.