Islamophobia Act and its far-reaching consequences

It will be a travesty if we did not stand united against evil Islamophobia Act which is neither desirable for the U.S. nor a dignified and diplomatic stance toward other sovereign countries

It will be a travesty if we did not stand united against evil Islamophobia Act which is neither desirable for the U.S. nor a dignified and diplomatic stance toward other sovereign countries
It will be a travesty if we did not stand united against evil Islamophobia Act which is neither desirable for the U.S. nor a dignified and diplomatic stance toward other sovereign countries

The previous part of the article can be accessed here. This is the second part.

Combating International Islamophobia Act

Let us begin with the name, “Combating International Islamophobia Act,” and ask why such an Act? Did any country like India, who will allegedly come under the scanner of the Act, come begging from the United States that they need assistance in combating Islamophobia which exists only in the psyche of the sponsor, Ilhan Omar? India has no Islamophobia perpetrated by the State and if there are isolated cases of perceived Islamophobia what authority does the U.S. have to monitor, combat, and interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign country? The U.S., once respected for its Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, lost its luster because of such blatant acts of disrespect for other nations. Yes, the U.S. is still the largest economy with the strongest military/ defence but not for too long if the big white elephant, China, has its way to swallow the world. In other words, the “dadagiri” of the U.S. is nearing death if not already dead.

To the best of my understanding, if a country is labelled Islamophobic, it stands to face punitive sanctions in foreign aid according to the Bill. Why the appointment of a special envoy and the creation of an office to monitor, combat, and document international Islamophobia inside the State Department, and to what end? Does USCIRF not serve the purpose of monitoring international religious freedom and human rights issues which in itself is undesirable, unwarranted, politicized, and prejudiced. We know that USCIRF has used a very selective and narrow lens based on the selective/ occasional incidences in India, mostly derived from anti-Hindu Western media like NYT, Washington Post, BBC, etc.

I have wondered if India’s democracy, development, demographic dividend, and diplomacy mixed with the rising economy and increasing influence of the Indian diaspora are causing butterflies in the stomach of the sponsors. Thus, they invented Islamophobia to accuse India, stir instability and incite protests against the very stable politics. It is an attempt to pit minority Muslims against majority Hindus in India, majority Christian in Europe, the U.K., and elsewhere, and majority Buddhists in Myanmar. What a sinister plan by Islamist Omar to divide the world into religious lines and then allege and monitor Islamophobia? Is that how the U.S. wishes to conduct its Foreign Policy- with one Islamophobic world and the other and non-Islamophobic?

I don’t know if I should admire or admonish the language in the proposed Act outlining the responsibility of the newly established office. The Act considers Muslims as sacrosanct in comparison to all other religions which are assumed to incite an act of Islamophobia. Note what the Islamophobia Act includes – physical violence or harassment of Muslim people, and vandalism of Muslim community institutions, including schools, mosques, and cemeteries. The government and NGOs may be culpable for propaganda, promoting racial hatred, or inciting acts of violence against Muslim people. Even, the actions taken by the government to respond to such violence and attacks or to enact and enforce laws relating to the protection of the right to religious freedom of Muslim people are the act of Islamophobia under the proposed Bill. If approved, it will be an ‘Act of Autocracy, Authority, and Overreach’ by the State Department of the United States, the oldest democracy but devoid of diplomacy.

How can one or more corrupt minds call any other country Islamophobic while inciting hatred, bigotry, and racial tensions on U.S. soil? In Minneapolis, the hometown of Congresswoman Omar, George Floyd, a Black, was killed due to an act of egregious behavior by a policeman which led to total anarchy. Reportedly, it was instigated by the select community leaders who then called for defunding of police. It is in fact supported by Omar and the issue of defunding is on the ballot for next week’s race of city Mayor. This has already divided the city on a racial (Black versus White) and religious basis (Muslims, Jews, and Christians) because the incumbent Mayoral candidate is a Jew. While it is inappropriate to characterize anyone by religion or race but since the Act of Islamophobia has already drawn lines in the sand (Muslims versus other religions), I dare surmise that the leaders inciting hatred against police and anarchy include mostly Blacks and/ or Muslims.

Far-Reaching Consequences

India has a functional and fair judicial system similar to the United States except being slow because of a huge backlog of judicial matters before the courts. In that, every accused is accountable for the wrong-doing/ criminal activity irrespective of one’s religious, political, and financial status. I am afraid that the enactment and enforcement of laws for all, when applied to the accused Muslims in the eyes of the law, will raise eyebrows and construe them as an act of Islamophobia. Why do I say so? Because the journalists like Rana Ayyub, working for Washington Post, has already blamed India’s judiciary for wrongfully accusing her of the misappropriation of funds. The passage of the Act under discussion will embolden other journalists like Ayyub and they will report all incidence of judicial charges against any Muslim as Islamophobic.

It should not come as a huge surprise if the Hinduphobic gang of academics running the DGH conference may have inspired this Act. Whatever conspiratorial plan Omar has in mind, India and the Indian diaspora in the U.S. must not let her succeed. I know many well-educated Indians in my own community (the Twin Cities) are reluctant to offer advocacy against the Act because they perceive it to be harmless. They are taking a very shortsighted view; today India is targeted to be under the scanner of the Islamophobic Act but tomorrow it may be Indian Americans in Minnesota under Sharia law if the police department is defunded. It will be a travesty if we did not stand united against the evil Islamophobia Act which is neither desirable for the United States nor a dignified and diplomatic stance toward other sovereign countries.

To be continued…

Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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Born in village Kotah (Saharanpur), Vijendra Agarwal, left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee but always remained connected with his roots. A researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he came to US in 1978. He served as faculty and academic
administrator (Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice Chancellor, and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering) in several universities, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during Clinton administration. Following his voluntary retirement in 2014, he and his wife co-founded a US based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward education, health, and empowerment of girls and overall development. An Indian at heart, his passion for writing has no boundaries. This includes policy, politics and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement. Currently he is the Brand Ambassador for Times of India and frequently blogs on Linkedin on various topics.
Vijendra Agarwal

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