Washington D.C., June 23, 2003
The Indian Muslim Council – USA, a Washington D.C. based advocacy group formally launched less than an year ago, is all set to host the first ever convention of its type on India-related issues, in Santa Clara, California on June 28th, 2003. The theme of the convention is “India After Gujarat – Democracy or Religious Fanaticism”.
The convention is unique is a number of ways. It comes at a time of widespread concern across the world about the changing nature of Indian society due to the rise of a divisive and hate-based ideology called Hindutva. IMC-USA is emphasizing the significance of this timing and the context of the convention, by making it the closure point of its campaign to commemorate the events in Gujarat, India, last year.
For the first time, an impressive array of speakers from vastly diverse backgrounds will assemble to hold groundbreaking discussions on issues related to human rights, sectarian violence, militant nationalism and social amity in India. The speakers include prominent religious & community leaders, political activists, social scientists, researchers, columnists and authors. While some speakers would converge from different parts of the United States, others are especially arriving from India to take part in the event.
This would be the first event to bring the developments in India into focus in the United States on such a large scale. This is an appropriate and much-needed development, since, as reported by human rights and advocacy groups, the battle for ideology in India is increasingly being fought within the Indian Diaspora in the United States. Human rights groups and media have highlighted the increasing financial, political, and intellectual support that the hate-based ideology of Hindutva is gathering in the United States.
The IMC-USA Convention thus provides the perfect platform for those concerned about the rise of divisive and hate-based ideologies such as Hindutva, and the repercussions this holds for secular democracies such as India and the United States. “Anyone with a specific interest in India-related issues, or with a broader interest in understanding the siege of democratic and secular societies by divisive and hate-based ideologies, will find this convention stimulating,” said IMC-USA President, Dr. Shaik Ubaid, sending a warm note of welcome to all.
Some prominent speakers attending the convention are:
Fr. Cedric Prakash: Jesuit priest, working for human rights and harmony in India for over 30 years
Praful Bidwai: Noted Columnist & political commentator, writes for over 20 major newspapers, including ‘The Nation (NY)’
Dr. Lise McKean: South Asia scholar and author of the book ‘Divine Enterprise’
Dr. Angana Chatterji: Researcher and Activist on social issues
Smita Narula: Senior Researcher for Asia Division, Human Rights Watch. Author of “HR Watch report on Gujarat”
Dr. K.P.Singh: Convener of the International Association for the Advancement of Dalit People
Nishrin Hussain: Daughter of slain ex-M.P., Ahsan Jafri, in the violence in Gujarat last year
P. D. John: Executive Director, Policy Institute for Religion & State
Jameel Johnson: Congressional Chief of Staff, Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY 6th)
Govind Acharya: India & Bangladesh Country director, Amnesty International
Dr. Hari Sharma: President, International South Asia Forum (INSAF)
Dr. Ahmedullah Siddiqui: Prof. Journalism & Public Relations, Western Illinois University
Kulmeet Singh/Jaswant Sangha: Sikh Coalition
Dr. Rahul Deepankar: Buddhist Scholar and Dalit activist.
Raju Rajagopal: President, Coalition Against Communalism
Kulmit Singh: Sikh Coalition
Dr. Shaik Ubaid: President, Indian Muslim Council-USA
Imam Khalid Griggs: African American activist & Fmr. Chairman of Television Access Corp
Dr. Aslam Abdullah: Journalist, Editor of Minaret & Muslim Observer.
Dr. Omar Afzal: Expert, Islamic History & Jurisprudence.
Asim Ghafoor: Political Consultant, Managing Director, AG Consulting Group.
For more information:
Phone: (408) 219-1433
IMC-USA Website: http://www.imc-usa.org
Convention Website: http://www.imc-usa.org/convention/