Indian Americans welcome USCIRF’s recommendation to continue the ban on Modi’s US visa

Thursday May 2nd, 2013

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos lauded the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), for calling on the Obama administration to maintain a visa ban on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his role in the pogrom of 2002, that claimed over 2,000 lives and displaced over 150,000.

“There is significant evidence linking him to the violence and the terrible events that took place in Gujarat and for this reason, a visa would not be appropriate,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, chairwoman of the US commission for international religious freedom (USCIRF) during a press conference held on May 1, to release its annual report.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, IAMC President Ahsan Khan praised USCIRF for taking a position that is consistent with US law, international human rights norms and our shared values of human rights and religious freedom.

“USCIRF’s recommendation to continue the ban on Narendra Modi’s entry into the US, and your own position on this issue during your term as Senator are a timely reminder to human rights violators across the world, that the international community will hold them accountable for their misdeeds,” stated Mr. Khan in the letter. In 2006, then Senator John Kerry had written to the State Department expressing concern over reports that Narendra Modi could be applying for a US visa. The State Department had responded to Senator Kerry, assuring him that “the Department of State is extremely sensitive to your concerns and we are cognizant of the human rights abuses Mr. Modi has committed.”

IAMC has also called on the Government of India to note that USCIRF has continued to place India in Tier 2 of the list of countries where religious freedom is at risk. India has been on USCIRF’s watch list since 2009. Such a characterization is a challenge to India’s secular and democratic constitution and a blemish on our cherished tradition of tolerance.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) 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: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Ishaq Syed
Phone: (800) 839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com

Address:
6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295
Morton Grove, IL 60053
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com

REFERENCES:
1. US religious panel for continuing visa ban on Narendra Modi
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-05-01/india/38956754_1_uscirf-religious-freedom-annual-report
2. USCIRF – Annual Report, 2013
http://www.uscirf.gov/images/2013%20USCIRF%20Annual%20Report(1).pdf
3. “We have no orders to save you” – Report by Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2002/india/
4. Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Gujarat 2002; An Inquiry into the Carnage in Gujarat
http://www.sabrang.com/tribunal/volI/index.html

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