Peace, Pluralism and Justice
In this issue of IAMC News Digest
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC - http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos has called on people of all faiths to come together on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, to renew their commitment to the UN Declaration of Human Rights  and to work towards a world where our common humanity is the basis for mutual coexistence and co-operation.
Coming few days after the demise of legendary anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and the 21st anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in India, it would be most apt to remember Mandela's words:
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
As Indian Americans, the International Human Rights Day is also an occasion for profound introspection on some of the articles of the UN Declaration which are also enshrined in the Constitution of India. Article 3 of the Declaration upholds the right of every human being to life, liberty and security of person. The same rights are echoed in the preamble to the Constitution of India, which seeks to secure for all citizens, justice, liberty and equality. Article 21 of India's Constitution declares that no deprivation of life and liberty is permitted except according to procedures established by law.
Unfortunately, increasing sectarian violence in India, marked by targeted killings of religious minorities and disadvantaged groups and accompanied by brutal forms of sexual violence against women are a stark reminder that the struggle to secure the life and liberty for all of India's citizens is as relevant and urgent as ever. The horrific violence in Muzaffarnagar earlier this year, that led to the killing of over 60 people and the mass displacement of over 50,000 from their homes and ancestral lands shows that the horrors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, can and will be repeated, unless we struggle against the hate ideologies that engender such violence. On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, IAMC has released a video titled " Muzaffarnagar Bleeds: A Reenactment of Gujarat Riots of 2002, " that exposes how the mass violence in Muzaffarnagar was engineered, and the human suffering it has wrought. The victims of Muzaffarnagar continue to suffer, due to the political chicanery and the apathy of those in positions of power. The International Human Rights Day is also a time to commemorate the struggle of the Dalit community and other disadvantaged groups in India, that have endured discrimination and bias for centuries.
"In this backdrop, the virulent opposition to House Resolution H.Res. 417 is a demonstration of the powerful forces arrayed against a change in the status quo, " said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. "The resolution praises India's 'rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality,' while raising concerns over the erosion of religious freedom. It is inspiring to see that the mere introduction of a resolution seeking to safeguard human rights and religious freedom has raised the hackles of those who wish to impose their narrow, sectarian vision over India," added Mr. Khan  .
Terror attacks, such as the ones in Malegaon (2006 and 2008) and on Samjhauta Express (2007) and random bomb blasts continue to claim the lives of innocent people while also resulting in continued suffering for countless families whose loved ones are detained on flimsy grounds. Article 9 of the UN Declaration pronounces that none shall be "subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile," a right that continues to be violated in India through the illegal detention of youth from the minorities , often on trumped-up charges of terror. The abduction and custodial death of Khalid Mujahid exemplifies the suffering of hundreds of such youth  .
Over six decades after India gained Independence, millions continue to struggle for the right guaranteed by Article 26 of the UN Declaration which says: "Everyone has the right to education," and "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality..." and shall " promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups." In this context the manipulation of text books to indoctrinate young minds with an inaccurate and distorted version of India's history is deeply alarming  .
IAMC has called on all those struggling to uphold human rights and justice for all, regardless of caste, creed, gender, or ethnic origin, to join hands in the struggle to save the soul of India, and to renew their commitment to uphold secularism in our society.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation.
For more information please visit our new website at www.iamc.com
Indian American Muslim Council
Muzaffarnagar Bleeds: A Reenactment of Gujarat Riots of 2002
Text of the House Resolution H.Res 417
Hindu American Foundation reveals its supremacist ideology through smear campaign
ANHAD Report - What It Means to be a Muslim in India Today
Khalid Muhahid - From Abduction to Custodial Killing
Framed, Damned, Acquitted - Dossiers of a Very Special Cell
In the Name of History - Examples from Hindutva inspired school textbooks in India
Hindutva, California Textbooks and a Smear Campaign
Muslims masquerade as Hindus for India job