(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/23/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and
advocacy group today called on the Bush administration to block the entry
of an Indian official accused of complicity in the massacre of more than
1,000 Muslim civilians.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said
Narendra Modi, chief minister of India’s state of Gujarat, is the “chief
guest” of the Asian American Hotel Owner Association (AAHOA) at its annual
convention next month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
CAIR is seeking to block Modi’s entry based on a section (Sec. 604) of the
International Religious Freedom Act that makes any foreign official who has
engaged in “particularly severe violations of religious freedom”
inadmissible to the United States.
Following anti-Muslim riots in 2002, senior officials in Gujarat told human
rights activists that they had been directed by Modi to allow the massacres
to run their course. Modi allegedly called the riots “anticipated Hindu
reaction” and “a natural outpouring.” (Christian Science Monitor, 7/23/04,
India’s National Human Rights Commission reported a “comprehensive failure
of the State to protect the Constitutional rights of the people of Gujarat.”
FOR BACKGROUND ON THE 2002 GUJARAT MASSACRES, GO TO:
The Washington Post said, “Human rights investigators found that the
anti-Muslim violence had been encouraged and in some cases assisted by
(Modi’s) government.” (Washington Post, 4/19/04) A citizens panel, which
included retired Indian Supreme Court judges, said the anti-Muslim rioters
had acted “with the deliberate connivance and support” of the Gujarat state
government. (Washington Post, 12/16/02)
Modi is also a key proponent of the militant and exclusivist Hindutva
(Hindu-ness) philosophy “that aims to unite Hindus, and consolidate their
votes, largely around fear of Muslims.” (New York Times, 12/12/02)
Those opposed to Modi’s entry into the United States have formed a group,
the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), to press for action by the AAHOA and
by U.S. government officials.
“Our nation should not reward a man accused of complicity in the massacre
of civilians by granting him a visa or a place of honor at a convention,”
said CAIR Board Member Parvez Ahmed. CAIR outlined its concerns in a letter
to Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom John Hanford.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and
chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the
understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties,
empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and
To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to:
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