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CAIR Welcomes U.S. Commission’s Recommendation to Sanction India as Violator of Religious Freedom, Targeting Muslims

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – 4/29/20) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIFR) condemnation of India’s violations of religious rights, particularly those of its Muslim community.

A USCIRF report decried the “sharp downward turn in India” whereby the Indian “national government used its strengthened parliamentary majority to institute national-level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims.”

In its 2020 Annual Report released yesterday, USCIF recommended that State Department designate India as one of the “countries of particular concern” (CPCs).

SEE: U.S. panel on religious freedom urges targeted sanctions on India

READ: USCIRF Releases 2020 Annual Report with Recommendations for U.S. Policy

In a statement, CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw said:

“CAIR welcomes USCIRF’s recommendation that the U.S. government sanction agencies and officials in Modi-led India who violate the civil rights and religious freedoms of religious minorities, including Indian Muslims.

“The State Department and U.S. Congress should not delay in implementing USCIRF’s recommendations — as not acting only further jeopardizes the rights and safety of Indian Muslims living under the threat of religious persecution by the Modi-led government and its right-wing allies.”

BACKGROUND

USCIRF’s 2020 Annual Report found in part that:

“India took a sharp downward turn in 2019. The national government used its strengthened parliamentary majority to institute national-level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims. Most notably, it enacted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which provides a fast track to Indian citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan already residing in India. According to government officials’ statements, this law is meant to provide protection for listed non-Muslim religious communities—but not for Muslims—against exclusion from a nationwide National Register of Citizens and the resulting detention, deportation, and potential statelessness. The national and various state governments also allowed nationwide campaigns of harassment and violence against religious minorities to continue with impunity, and engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence against them. Based on these developments, in this report USCIRF recommends CPC designation for India.” CPCs are countries where the government engages in or tolerates “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom.

The report concludes that the United States government should:

  • Impose targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/or barring their entry into the United States under human rights-related financial and visa authorities, citing specific religious freedom violations;
  • Strengthen the U.S. Embassy’s and consulates’ engagement with religious communities, local officials, and police, especially in regions impacted by religiously motivated violence;
  • Increase U.S. partnerships with Indian law enforcement to build capacity to protect religious minorities, houses of worship, and other holy sites, and confront religious-based hate crimes; and
  • Allocate funding to support civil society to create a monitoring and early warning system in partnership with police to challenge hate speech and incitement to violence.

The report also concludes that the U.S. Congress should:

  • Continue to hold hearings highlighting religious freedom conditions in India and U.S. policy toward India.

Created by International Religious Freedom Act, USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. government advisory body, separate from the State Department, that monitors religious freedom abroad and makes policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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