Interfaith Councils: The Social Justice Madrassas of America

Muslim invaders were well-acquainted with the geographic location of Hindu sacred spaces and calibrated their attacks to destroy and deface the places of worship and plunder their treasures.

Muslim invaders were well-acquainted with the geographic location of Hindu sacred spaces and calibrated their attacks to destroy and deface the places of worship and plunder their treasures.

The event to rebut the false propaganda being peddled by these interfaith councils

The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County (ICCCC) and the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) held an event titled “Genocide in India” on Saturday, February 29th. This malicious event was designed to spread false propaganda, malign India, and promote bigotry against Hindus. It focused on a fanciful genocide that has no basis in fact.

The leaders of these organizations have a paucity of integrity and a fanatical allegiance to a radical social justice ideology, which prevents them from being able to digest any facts that challenge their ideology. If the leaders were not blinded by their radical social justice ideology, they would have called their event “The Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide of Non-Muslims in South Asia” and discussed the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Hindus and adherents of other Indic faiths in the Indian state of Kashmir and the Islamic nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. To rebut the false propaganda being peddled by these interfaith councils, this article will outline the facts surrounding the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Hindus and adherents of other Indic faiths, in South Asia.

The radical demographic change is readily apparent in Kashmir, where Hindus and adherents of other Indic faiths used to constitute 100% of the population before the 12th century, but only accounted for 5% of the population in the 1901 census.

The subjugation of Hindus and people of other Indic faiths in South Asia started with the Islamic invasion in the 8th century. The invaders mercilessly killed millions of Hindus and others of Indic faiths, destroyed their magnificent temples, and institutions of learning. As observed by Dr. Koenraad Elst, in his article titled “Was There an Islamic Genocide of Hindus?”, while there are no official estimates of the number of Hindus killed by the Islamic invaders of South Asia, the number would easily exceed the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust[1]. This view is also echoed by Will Durant, the famed American historian, in his book The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage. Durant refers to the Muslim invasion of India as the bloodiest story in history and specifically highlights the fact that Islamic historians have proudly and gleefully documented the slaughter of Hindus, their forced conversions, and the abduction of their women and children for sale in the slave markets.

Qualitative or indirect evidence of the brutality of the Islamic invasion of South Asia can be readily gleaned from the radical demographic change, ruins of magnificent temples and institutions of learning, and from the names that have been given to places of historical significance. For instance, the radical demographic change is readily apparent in Kashmir, where Hindus and adherents of other Indic faiths used to constitute 100% of the population before the 12th century, but only accounted for 5% of the population in the 1901 census[2].

The destruction of magnificent temples is described strikingly by Andre Wink in volume 2 of his book titled, Al-Hind the Making of the Indo-Islamic World. On page 331 of his book, Professor Wink notes that the Muslim invaders were well-acquainted with the geographic location of Hindu sacred spaces and calibrated their attacks to destroy and deface the places of worship and plunder their treasures[3]. Similarly, on page 334, Professor Wink notes that the Islamic invaders destroyed the famed Nalanda Buddhist monastery, university, and library in Eastern India. Before its destruction, this famous center of learning used to attract students from China, Tibet, Korea and distant provinces of India.

Ruins of Nalanda Monastery, University and Library Complex

Lastly, the names of places in South Asia also constitute a present-day reminder of the brutality of the Islamic conquest. One example of this is a neighborhood near Dal Lake in Kashmir that is called Batta Mazar, which translates in English to the ‘Graveyard of the Pundits’[4]. Walter R. Lawrence’s book titled “The Valley of Kashmir” describes how the brutal Afghani ruler, Asad Khan, used to torture the Hindus of Kashmir. On page 197 of the book, Lawrence describes the torture in graphic detail[5]. He notes that Hindus were tied in grass sacks and dropped in the Dal Lake with pitchers of excrement placed on their heads. Then he explains that, as each Hindu victim was drowning, Muslim spectators would entertain themselves by throwing rocks at the pitcher of excrement. The goal of this practice was to blind the Hindu victim with the excrement as he drowned. Another example of a place whose name evokes the brutality of the Islamic conquest of South Asia is the Hindukush mountain range in Pakistan. The name Hindukush can be translated as Hindu Killer and recognizes the fact that thousands of Hindu slaves died on the mountain range while being transported to Central Asia[6].

In 1990, the Islamists of Kashmir, aided by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, managed to orchestrate the ethnic cleansing of the remaining Hindus from Kashmir. Eventually, more than 4,00,000 Hindus fled the Kashmir Valley and sought refuge in other parts of India.

The ethnic cleansing and genocide

The ethnic cleansing and genocide of people of Indic faiths in South Asia did not diminish after Indian independence. Richard Benkin, an American human rights activist, journalist, and lecturer has detailed the ethnic cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh in his book titled, The Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: The Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus and in a companion video. Benkin confirms that the genocide of Hindus took place at the time of Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971 and notes that 2.4 million Hindus were brutally killed by the Pakistani army and allied Islamic militias[7]. He also notes that the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh has been ongoing since that time and that the number of victims is in the millions. He specifically calls out the 2013 riots, which took place after the president of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist political party, was sentenced to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 liberation war. He documents the fact that hundreds of Hindus were killed, had their houses burnt, and their places of worship destroyed during these riots. The impact of all these events is readily apparent from reviewing the religion-wise breakdown of Bangladesh’s population, which shows that Bangladesh’s Hindu population had dropped from 22% in 1951 to 8% in 2011[8].

Ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh

Ethnic cleansing of Hindus and others of Indic faiths, specifically Sikhs, is also commonplace in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan[9]. The kidnapping of underage Hindu and Sikh girls for forcible conversion and marriage to Muslim men is a common occurrence. The most recent kidnapping and forcible conversion occurred in January 2020. The article in which the kidnapping and forced conversion was reported notes that 50 underage girls have been kidnapped and forcibly converted in the recent past[10]. In general, the Hindus and Sikh citizens of Pakistan live under an informal apartheid system. This is confirmed in the European Union Parliament’s report titled “Religious Minorities in Pakistan”, which was released in 2019[11].

The ethnic cleansing of Hindus and other Indic faiths in modern times is not limited to the Islamic Republics of South Asia. It has also happened in Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan invaded and occupied part of Kashmir, which is today referred to as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). Upon occupation, the Islamic Republic ethnically cleansed the Hindus that remained in the part of Kashmir that it occupied such that the non-Muslim population of POK today is essentially zero[12]. Having ethnically cleansed the Hindus in POK, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan focused on instigating a new wave of violence and intimidation to get rid of the remaining Hindus in Kashmir. In this respect, in 1990, the Islamists of Kashmir, aided by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, managed to orchestrate the ethnic cleansing of the remaining Hindus from Kashmir. Eventually, more than 4,00,000 Hindus fled the Kashmir Valley and sought refuge in other parts of India[13].

Given the history of South Asia, the notion of a Muslim genocide in India is woefully uninformed and divorced from reality. Reasonable and well-intentioned Muslims like Taslima Nasreen, Kunwar Shahid, and Tarek Fatah all are working to combat the propaganda of political Islam by getting the Muslim community to acknowledge historical facts associated with the Islamic invasion and colonization of South Asia[14][15][16]. They are also combating political Islam by highlighting the ethnic cleansing of Hindus from the Islamic Republics of South Asia and parts of India such as Kashmir.

Unfortunately, in contrast to what moderate and well-intentioned Muslims are doing, the interfaith councils of Contra Costa County and Alameda County are working hand-in-glove with political Islamists to obscure and hide the atrocities against Hindus and people of other Indic faiths. They are also peddling false propaganda about a fictional Muslim genocide in India. In this respect, these interfaith councils are functioning like social justice madrassas of America. Even more worrisome is the fact that the organizations, which are expected to build social harmony, are intentionally creating rifts based on false narratives. I hope Americans will take note of the dubious activities of these taxpayer-supported organizations and chastise their officers for spreading false and hateful propaganda that can potentially endanger the lives of Hindu-Americans across America and sow seeds of social discord.

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

References:

[1] Was There an Islamic “Genocide” of Hindus?Sep 2, 2011, Raoulwallenberg

[2] Kashmir: Curious case of demographic realities and perceptionsAug 19, 2019, Indiatoday

[3] Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Chapter The Idols of Hind – Books.google

[4] Political History of KashmirApr 3, 2020, Ikashmir

[5] The Valley of Kashmir – Archive

[6] Hindu Kush – Dictionary

[7] Hindus of Bangladesh: A quiet case of ethnic cleansing – Richard BenkinJun 1, 2019, Youtube

[8] Demographics of Bangladesh – Wikipedia

[9] Sikhs on verge of extinction in Pakistan: CampaignerAug 30, 2019, Indiatoday

[10] Another Hindu girl allegedly kidnapped, forcibly converted in PakistanJan 19, 2020, Indiatoday

[11] Pakistan institutionalised discrimination against minority groups: EU Parliament reportMay 14, 2019, Indiatimes

[12] Kashmir region – Mcgill

[13] 24 Hindus Are Shot Dead in Kashmiri VillageMar 24, 2003, Nytimes

[14] Taslima Nasrin – Wikipedia

[15] After Ghotki, Pakistan Should Abandon its Glorification of Temple VandalizersSep 23, 2019, Thediplomat

[16] Tarek Fatah – Wikipedia

Venkat Nagarjan
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