United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (image credit: Wikipedia)
This is the first article in series of articles by AFRE on the persecution of Hindus. This article focuses on the persecution of Hindus, a minority group in the USA, specifically by the Federal Government of the United States of America.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom — Our tax dollars at work AGAINST minority groups
The United States of America prides itself in offering liberty, justice, freedom, and equality to its residents. AFRE does agree that the various government bodies, as well as many Americans try to live by these principles. However, these principles are are not always upheld. The case in point is the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a part of the United States Federal Government sponsored by our tax dollars.
While the USCIRF boasts itself to be an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, in reality it has turned out to be a taxpayer sponsored advocate of the Christian right. The commissioners of USCIRF are predominantly white Christians, with only two Muslims and one Jewish. Almost all the commissioners, including those of Islamic background, are known to belong to the right-wing of their respective religious beliefs. This fact alone is sufficient to prove that they have are not impartial, and and have little concern, if any, for other religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism etc.
Here are some examples:
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett (Chair): Belongs to the American Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church).
Mary Ann Glendon (Vice Chair): Has a long list of string ties to Christian/right-wing groups; only are few are listed here (1) been the US Ambassador to the Holy See (episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome) in 2008-2009 (2) appointed by Pope John Paul II as the President of the Roman Catholic Church’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (3) Vatican representative to the international 1995 Beijing Conference on Women (4) supporter of Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election
Elliott Abrams (Commissioner): A well known conservative according to the RightWeb (Institute of policy studies).
Robert P. George (Commissioner): “The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker” according to New York Times.
Rev. William Shaw (Vice Chair): The name says it all; a minister in Christian Church; former elected President of National Baptist Convention and pastor of White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Azizah al-Hibri (Commissioner): A pro-Islamist; founder and president of “KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights”, guest-editor of a special volume on Islam for the “Journal of Law and Religion”, and advisor to the documentary “Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet” (2002).
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser (Commissioner): A pro-Islamist sunni Muslim; founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and helped establish Mosques in many cities using locally raised funds. A media watchdog group Media Matters for America (MMfA) criticized Jasser’s lack of credentials and his “right-wing rhetoric”.
Sam Gejdenson (Commissioner): Belongs to the Jewish faith.
What does this mean? It simply means that there is no representation of any of the minority religions in America, including that from Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. This is consistently reflected in the Annual reports of the USCIRF. The reports have been consistently anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh to say the least. For example:
- The riots that erupted after the horrific murder of Hindu pilgrims by a Muslim mob in Godhra, India, has been portrayed as anti-Muslim! The USCIRF wants to deny the basic right of survival to the Hindus.
- The anti-Sikh riots after the murder of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were portrayed as Hindu-Sikh riots! USCIRF shuts its eyes to the fact the riots were initiated by Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indira Gandhi, as a revenge of his mother’s death. The Nanavati Commission, established for an independent investigation of the riots confirms that (a) The riots were initiated by members of the Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party (b) Hindu organizations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) helped in preventing the violence and assisting the Sikh victims, and (c) president Zail Singh, a Sikh, praised the RSS for its work during and after the riots. USCIRF tends to deny the report of an independent commission of a democratic nation!
So why exactly is USCIRF biased towards Christians? The question has been answered in-depth in an article published in the Huffington Post, which details the history of its creation. According to the article it is “institutionalized license for evangelical outfits driven to gain converts around the globe.” and “where vulnerable populations (read poorest of the poor) are targeted for conversion through coercive means such as access to jobs, health care or education — access, of course, depending on accepting as Savior the “right God.”
Another article found here on USCIRF may be of interest.
About us: Americans for Freedom of Religious Expression (AFRE) is a global organization that promotes religious freedom around the world.