Growing number of anti-CAA Resolutions in many cities: The next steps

Anti-India propaganda by Hindu-haters in the name of having the cities pass an anti-CAA resolution

Anti-India propaganda by Hindu-haters in the name of having the cities pass an anti-CAA resolution
Anti-India propaganda by Hindu-haters in the name of having the cities pass an anti-CAA resolution

Some people blame the Democratic-leaning city councils for anti-CAA Resolution and perhaps there is some truth

A tale of two Twin Cities since May has now grown to seven cities across America and counting[1]. It is all about anti-India propaganda by Hindu-haters in the name of having the cities pass an anti-CAA resolution. These cities include Albany (NY), Cambridge (MA), Hamtramck (MI), Milwaukee (WI), San Francisco (CA), Seattle (WA), and Saint Paul (MN). Having been personally involved in Saint Paul, such city resolutions have no bearing on India’s standing in the global community but it can damage the local Indian community relations and begin to promote anti-India sentiments. I and many others question what these cities know about India and why do they care. The cities may not care on their own but the instigators behind such hateful propaganda matter because they constitute very highly organized Hindu-hating organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) working under the umbrella of the US Council of Muslim Organizations. These organizations have a very strong network around the country and infiltrated the local politics, unlike the divided Hindus. This article offers an analysis of the current situation, particularly, like the US is heading for Presidential elections.

One of the questions often asked is why anti-CAA sentiments and why the CAA bill does not explicitly explain that most Muslims living in India need not feel threatened. I must agree that the Government could do a much better public education about the need for and consequences of CAA. It would not have avoided all the riot-like activities across India because these were preplanned to disturb peace and harmony and simply oppose Modi policies. For the US audience, it is like the Lautenberg Amendment here.

Why and what did we do? Important to remember that Modi was once banned to travel to the US because of similar labeling of India by USCIRF.

I don’t know each city and the local politics (except I was told that most of them have Democratic-leaning city councils) nor I know the size or the character of the Indian American community in all those cities. However, I surmise that the following applies to most cities as our next steps:

  1. Most importantly, it is the lack of unity among Hindus in various cities. We divide ourselves based on political ideology, regionalism, casteism, and sometimes what Deity we worship and which temple, etc. Within reason, it is fine to have individual character but we often are too busy to think of the larger consequences. Our political engagement at the local level is very limited while the politics is all “Local” with national consequences.
  2. Using my Saint Paul experience, perhaps only a handful of people including the influential Indians at the local level were engaged in the advocacy campaign. What I know, most Hindus may have ignored it as a non-issue (I heard firsthand, how does it matter to me or us.) The Coronavirus and the resulting limits on gathering and social distancing may also have hurt the advocacy efforts. I am aware that in-person advocacy in the city hall of Seattle had a positive impact on changing many minds although not enough to turn the tide against the anti-CAA resolution. The Coronavirus disadvantaged us in Saint Paul.
  3. The Hindu communities across America must come to grips that Hindu-haters (who brand us as Kafirs) are united to the core to damage our religion, our country of birth, oppose Modi policies because they are feeling threatened, and they are working behind the scene to divide us. In the “Twin Cities,” they got away with Azan broadcasted on loudspeakers, wrote a persuasive letter to many big employers explaining their major festivals and seeking accommodation for Muslims during Ramadan. When the latter was brought to the attention of the powers to be, it went on deaf ears. Every little bit of organized effort by the “United Hindus” will make a difference.
  4. Politically speaking, some people blame the Democratic-leaning city councils for anti-CAA resolution and perhaps there is some truth. But, in the national context, under the nose of the Republican President, India was designated a Country of Concern citing anti-CAA sentiments and religious discrimination in India by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in Washington funded by the taxpayers. Why and what did we do? Important to remember that Modi was once banned to travel to the US because of similar labeling of India by USCIRF. Can it happen again; it can’t be ruled out because that is one of the recommendations.

What can we learn from the experiences and outcomes in the seven cities? My humble request to all Hindus (an encompassing term for those who believe in Sanatan Dharma), remember, “all politics is local.” Therefore, get united and organized at the local level first and continue practicing individual political ideologies at the state and national level with humility and respect for others. Recently, someone in our community suggested that if we don’t vote for Trump and don’t subscribe to Modi policies, we are lesser Hindus; someone called Kamala Harris a “traitor” because she associated herself with African Americans. My Hindu friends, please practice your own political ideology but don’t label others; get united for Hindu cause locally first and strengthen our local political engagement.

We need to stand united to counter Jihadism, Terrorism, Hinduphobia, and anti-Indianness and not just the anti-CAA resolutions in many cities and counting, There are several organizations and many individuals who pose a threat to us, our faith, and what we believe in. The political mudslinging between two teams in the wrestling match will go on and there is no reason not to hoot for the team you like but let us have a razor-thin focus on Hindu Unity and local political engagement. It is important for all of us not to lose our humility, mutual respect, and the bigger cause of protecting and preserving our Sanatan Dharma from the evil forces. Let us be clear that neither Trump nor Joe Biden will come to rescue us in our local issues such as anti-CAA resolutions, it is our own political strength locally that will matter. Trump’s victory is believed to be good for India but we don’t know at what cost and for how long. The past practices are no guarantee for the future in the fast-changing political climate globally. I suggest that let us dream big but the political wealth earned by each of us individually as one community will always be ours to use even to make those dreams come true.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References:

[1] A tale of two twin citiesMay 20, 2020, PGurus.com

Vijendra Agarwal

4 COMMENTS

  1. Seema Sirohi: A good history. Frankly, I did not know that much about ICNA and CAIR and perhaps did not care to follow their origin and activities as well. Time has come to monitor their activities which truly pose a threat to peace and harmony in the communities.

  2. Human Rights are not essentially Humane Rights.
    How and by whom Indians have been brainwashed ?
    NGOs financed by the ex-masters.
    Majority of Indians do not have the chance to verify facts, so they are gullible to propaganda.
    A powerful muslim politician outside India, « Harems have been educational establishments »
    Bollywood ; until about 1975, majority of movie themes were around Nawabi life style. Nawabs needed provocation the whole day (nothing else to do), so they could be productive in the bed at night.
    The language used in film dialogues is often a bastard language, high on ethericals, flying emotions. It flies and then dies. This language has no chance to evolve on its own.
    Bollywood actors rejoice that life style.
    Bollywood Nawabs got boosters during fellow travellers’s rule, JL Nehru (Nawabi life style) and his successors.
    USA invokes Human Rights (pliant definition) violations wherever its businesses are doomed to fail.
    USA has so far not fully defined Human Rights.
    Human Rights are not essentially Humane Rights.
    Secularism = Bank notes of all shades.
    (proponents-rootless Secularists are a living proof)

  3. Did USA welcome survivors of Holocaust camps of 1940’s ?
    US policies are profit oriented.

    How US funds reach the terror groups it fights
    It’s going to take dedicated effort and sustained investigation by various US government agencies to understand, isolate and prosecute Islamists who claim to represent all American Muslims and dominate the discourse
    https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/opinion/how-us-funds-reach-the-terror-groups-it-fights-5621491.html
    Seema Sirohi
    Incredible as it may sound but the United States government has unwittingly been funding ‘charitable’ organisations linked to terrorist groups that it’s hunting abroad, doling out millions of dollars over the years without oversight.
    It is an exceptionally severe case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. The crux of the problem: various government agencies involved don’t seem to talk to each other, allowing dubious groups to claim federal funding, research by the Middle East Forum shows.
    While the FBI and CIA track terrorist groups at home and abroad, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Agriculture and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) give money to their ‘sister’ organisations in the US. Senior US officials grace receptions on Capitol Hill organised by groups that are banned in some Arab countries because they radicalise those they offer to help.
    The bewildering reality of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds has special pertinence for India given the well-organised attacks on Capitol Hill led by Islamist groups such as Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
    Not many know that the CAIR was founded in 1994 by a front group for Hamas, and even designated as a co-conspirator in a 2008 terror financing trial in the US. Even fewer would know that the ICNA is linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, whose members slaughtered thousands of Bengali intellectuals and liberals during the Bangladesh war of liberation in 1971.
    Both the CAIR and the ICNA are in the forefront building a dire narrative of distress and danger in Kashmir on Capitol Hill since August when India abrogated Article 370 in the state and bifurcated it into two union territories. Many of the most vocal members of Congress and their staffers have bought into their narrative to the extent they don’t give any credence to the other side. Any criticism of the CAIR is immediately termed ‘Islamophobia’ by their well-funded and aggressive spokespersons.
    Despite US President Donald Trump’s strong rhetoric as a candidate on fighting “radical Islamic terrorism”, his administration seems to be lax about monitoring where American largesse ultimately goes. Apart from naming ‘radical Islam’ as a threat in its National Strategy for Counterterrorism document in 2018, the current administration has done little to study, understand and identify moderate, reformist Muslim leaders and separate them from Islamists.
    The British experience of funding self-proclaimed ‘Muslim community’ leaders in the late 1980s who turned out to be Islamists seems to be forgotten. It took nearly a decade for British officials to come to grips with their mistake and distance themselves from the Muslim Council of Britain, a group run by the violent Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and clean up public schools in Birmingham, which had been taken over by Islamists, before former Prime Minister David Cameron changed government policy in 2011.
    However, the Barack Obama administration wasn’t watching or learning as might be expected. Instead, it was falling prey to the same tactics and unwittingly empowering Islamists. It was funding community programmes in Muslim communities without due diligence on so-called leaders, some of whom had served prison sentences or were on the run from terrorism-related charges. Around $4 million in federal grants was given out to questionable organisations through the so-called Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme.
    “The line of thinking was borrowed from the Europeans that groups like Jamaat are moderate compared to Al Qaeda. Therefore, we should fund moderate Islamists to fight the radical. It is like using fascists to fight the Nazis,” according to Cliff Smith, director of Middle East Forum’s Washington Project.
    Even though the Trump administration stopped the CVE programme, the practice of funding questionable groups has continued, says Sam Westrop, director of the Islamist Watch Project. He has researched US government funding over the years. He found that funding under the Trump administration, in fact, tripled to $13 million. Even this is not the complete picture because some US government departments do not report the grants individually to various groups.
    The web the so-called charity organisations weave in the US and other western countries is indeed dense and difficult to unravel. However, there is no justification for one arm of the government funding groups that the other is fighting. It’s unclear why the USAID or the FEMA can’t refer to the federal government’s database on terrorists and terrorist groups before approving grants to various organisations. Red flags would surely come up.
    It is disturbing not least because bulk of the money — a whopping $8.7 million — went to the ICNA, a front for Jamaat-e-Islami, an organisation with a bloody history in South Asia. The funds were given for ‘disaster assistance projects’. Vali Nasr, an Iranian American academic and former dean of the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, has identified the ICNA as one of the eight major branches of Jamaat.
    The ICNA has openly said that the Islamic Movement has been the “main force behind the jihaad against the kuffar (non-believer) in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Palestine, Bosnia etc.” It was the ICNA that apparently was behind many rallies against India in the US after August. Of course, Pakistan’s ISI officers are often spotted at the ICNA conferences.
    India banned Jamaat’s Jammu and Kashmir branch for five years last March because of its links to terrorists. New Delhi will be disturbed to find out that an ICNA subsidiary called Helping Hand for Relief and Development joined with Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2017 for a conference in Pakistan. It should hardly be a beneficiary of US government funds.
    Not many members of the US Congress or federal government are familiar with Jamaat’s history or links with the ICNA or know that Syed Salahuddin, the head of its military wing Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, is a designated ‘global terrorist’. Yet the two hearings held on the Kashmir situation after August had the ICNA’s hand all over.
    Westrop and Smith say that the ICNA and its allies are now fully focused on India and “working hard to convince Americans that Kashmiri terror against Indian troops is just. ICNA and its branches even use their charitable infrastructure to subsidise such violent pursuits.”
    It’s going to take dedicated effort and sustained investigation by various US government agencies to understand, isolate and prosecute Islamists who claim to represent all American Muslims and dominate the discourse.

  4. “such city resolutions have no bearing on India’s standing in the global community”

    I don’t understand this statement. These city councils are working in tandem with their state representatives in congress.
    What happens when these folks become the majority in the government?

    They will use the resolutions as the basis for enacting policies against us. Just like they used printed articles in The NY Times to support their resolutions.

    The aim is to roll back these resolutions and back them up with facts.

    Sree Iyer statement that it will be a waste of taxpayers money is silly. If the other side doesn’t care, why should we?

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