Hindus face anti-Idolatry campaign in Bangladesh

When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent (become Muslim) and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful. – Quran 9:5

GOD does not forgive idolatry, but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside GOD, has forged a horrendous offense. – Quran 4:48

There is a saying that is popular in the West, and only because it better applies to our own holocausts, that “where they burn books they will burn people”, and maybe this saying is true.  However, for Hindus, especially those living in the Islamic State of Bangladesh, the more appropriate and visceral call to defense is “where they break idols, they will try to break Hindus”.

Islam is very subtly woven in the Bangladeshi Constitution, as the document does claim that Bangladesh is a “secular democracy”, however, the Constitution also states that Islam is the state religion, it references both “Allah” and the “Koran”, and it is the state’s objective to: “consolidate, preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity.”  So when Bangladeshi politicians say Bangladesh is “secular”, this is what they mean.

Those who have been following JFH know that Bangladeshi Hindus of course have a long and bloody history of continuous pogroms under Muslim rule.  Less than 1000 years ago, Bangladeshi was a majority Hindu, tribal, Vedic and otherwise native land, however, as did happen in all of Northern India, Islamic Invasions from West Asia and the establishment of a tyrannical Islamic theocracy over Northern India wiped out or converted the majority of Bangladeshi Hindus.

By the time of partition in 1947, Bangladeshi Hindus made up approximately 30% of the Bangladeshi population, today they make up less than 9%.  From targeted genocides, to the kidnapping of Hindu girls, the expulsions and land grabs, the Radical Muslims of Bangladesh have been systematically cleansing the Hindus of Bangladesh for the past 70 years.  It is estimated that in this time, 49 million Hindus have gone “missing” from Bangladesh.

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Every year, hundreds of Hindu homes, temples, shops and schools are burned, looted, and destroyed by Muslim mobs.  However, there is of course another sort of crime that is very specific, the destruction of Hindu “idols”.  Hindus more usually call their idols “murtis” as they know “idol” caries negative connotations.  However, the meaning is the same, it is a representation of a “god” or energy which is believed to hold some sort of field force which emanates the power of the idea to which the idol is associated.

While murtis and idols are not a necessary prescription in Hinduism (the Vedas have no idols), they have become ubiquitous and synonymous with Hinduism in the modern age. Idolatry, is of course however, violently prohibited in Islam, the Koran calls for Muslims to mass murder idolaters until they convert to Islam and idolatry is described as the worst sin a person can commit. As one can guess, the purposeful destruction of idols is very common in Bangladesh.

On Sunday night, 17 Sept 2017, a group of Muslim men entered a Hindu temple which had been the site of intensive worship over the past few days, and vandalized three idols including the goddess Durga who was the focus of the temple’s devotion at this time. The local Hindu community has not been made to feel safe or protected by the local authorities and have been frightened to continue with their worship. The Durga Temple was located in Shajalpur Traditional Para 7 Ward of Birganj City under Dinajpur District. The Birgani Police Station has not responded to community phone calls.

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This is certainly not the first attack on Hindu idols in Bangladesh in some time, and there is enough violence in BD for Hindus to understand that this is not the worst that could happen to them, however, Islamic Iconoclasm strikes deeper into the heart of the community than does even physical violence.  When Muslim mobs enter a temple, and only destroy the idol and nothing else, they are speaking most profoundly to Hindus of their absolute hatred.

When one reads the anthologies of the Muslim rulers of Bangladesh and India, they speak constantly of their hatred for the “idolaters” and their willingness to slaughter them in the millions for Allah.  Idolatry is the one thing the Koran admits Muslims must hate the most, the greatest sin on which they are to unleash the greatest carnage.  When Muslims destroy idols, Hindus are reminded of the darkest ignorance and rage that Islam has to unleash. When people burn books, pay attention, when people smash idols, think of the Hindus of Bangladesh please.

Book Review: An Era of Darkness by Dr Shashi Tharoor

An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, is a fantastic new book by Dr Shashi Tharoor that outlines the destructive presence of the British in India from the 17th Century until India gained her independence in 1947. It has long been understood that England had brought infrastructure, social reform, democracy and the rule of law to a continent, which in their opinion, was otherwise ravaged by wars, disease, civil distress and famine.

Prior to the publication of this book, Dr Tharoor had provide a fantastic and at times humorous account at the Oxford Union Debate of just how malevolent the British presence was in India upon which, this particular segment went viral over the internet. Subsequent to the debate, Dr Tharoor was inspired to write a detailed account of British rule in India, premised on the fact that many of the current generation of Indians were genuinely unaware Britain’s past atrocities.

Dr Tharoor has successfully provided a clear cut and concise overview on the humble beginnings of the East Indian Company and how through deceit, treachery, bribery and corruption, were able to establish a reign of terror over the regions of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The first chapter sets out to provide the reader with an overview of how the wealth was drained from these regions followed by the deindustrialisation and destruction of the ship building, steel and textile industries. Subsequent chapters aim to discuss and effectively refute the notions that British established political unity, democracy and the free press.

In addition, much information is provided on the concept of divide and rule that precipitated into dissention between people of different so called castes, religions and race which continue to haunt the Indian subcontinent to this day. For those seeking to gain a true perspective on the real history of British rule in India will certainly not be disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover and highly recommend it to those seeking to gain a true perspective on the presence of the British in India and for Indians and people of Indian origin to develop a sense of self respect.

Best Wishes,

Janardhan

 

[VIDEO] JFH join Bangladeshi Hindu demonstration at White House

Dec 11th, 2017 – Justice For Hindus joined with many other Bangladeshi Hindu and minority  rights groups and nearly 100 demonstrators outside the White House to protest the latest pogroms against non-Muslims in the Islamic State of Bangladesh.  Since late October, Islamic radicals have either vandalized or destroyed nearly 20 Hindu temples along with hundreds of Hindu homes and businesses. The current spate of violence is being blamed on an alleged facebook comment which was said to be insulting to Islam. The event outside the White House was organized by Sitangshu Guha of the Bangladeshi Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, USA.

The aim of the demonstration was to push the current administration under Obama and the incoming Trump administration to voice for the minority non-Muslims in Bangladesh who are suffering ongoing and intensifying deadly persecution at the hands of radical Islamic extremists. The movement also hopes to encourage the Bangladeshi government to not only protect it’s minority population but also return to a state of secularism, dropping Islam as the state religion.

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“We believe you are a person of great sensitivity and resolve, and would find the situation in Bangladesh with respect to the minority communities deplorable. We would like to request you, if it is possible, to convey our anxiety regarding Bangladesh to the next administration,” said a memorandum submitted by protesters to Mr. Obama on Sunday.

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“The destruction of Hindu households and temples, the usurping of Hindu lands and occasional killing and rape have become a norm in the present day Bangladesh. In fact, in recent weeks, the news of two more premeditated attacks were documented during which the party in power was complicit, and no actions were taken by the authorities to assist or support the victims and their families,” the memorandum continued.

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Protecting Bangladesh from falling into the lap of ISIS is the “most pressing priorities”, said Jay Kansara of the Hindu American Foundation. “Because if Bengal falls to extremism, then there would be no recourse to that,” he said in his brief address to the protesters, which included women and children.

In response to news of the upcoming protest, the Bangladesh ruling party Awami League representative in the US, Dr Siddiqur Rahman, sent a threatening email (Dec 1oth, 2016) to the event organizer Sitangshu Guha for taking a stand with the persecuted Hindus and other minorities. Senior Hindu activist Sitangshu Guha had also organized a similar rally in front of United Nations in November.

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The nation of Bangladesh (BD) is a Muslim majority state which borders India to the Northeast, Islam is the state religion of Bangladesh.  While the minority Hindus of Bangladesh have been experiencing intense and deadly persecution for decades, the intensity of violent crimes against non-Muslims and secularists has escalated recently with the influx of ISIS elements into the state. In the past months, several Hindus and other non-Muslims have been either murdered, injured or humiliated by Muslim citizens with Islamist motives, and many of these crimes have been claimed by ISIS. Here are some examples of recent attacks on minorities in Bangladesh:

Hindu Priest Slaughtered In Bangladesh, ISIS claims responsibility – A 70-year-old Hindu priest was hacked to death in Bangladesh by three suspected Islamic State jihadists who nearly severed his head, the second priest from the community to be killed this year in the Muslim-majority nation which has seen a string of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular activists. – DNA INDIA

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Hindu Tailor hacked to death in Bangladesh; ISIS claims responsibility – Police in Bangladesh say they have detained three people in relation to the killing of a Hindu tailor, who was hacked to death in the central Bangladeshi district of Tangail. Those detained for questioning include two party members, one from the opposition BNP party and a local leader of the Jamaat e Islami Islamist. – CNN

Hindu teacher in Bangladesh beaten up, made to do sit-ups by holding ears for ‘insulting’ Islam – – Dhaka: In yet another incident of mob justice against minorities in Bangladesh, a Hindu headmaster of a school in Narayanganj was on Friday punished by locals for allegedly insulting Islam. Shyamal was being punished and made to do sit-ups holding ears, said that the punishment was the only way to save the latter from the mob. – Zee News

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Bangladesh killings: Hindu teacher attacked at home – A Hindu college teacher in Bangladesh has been attacked on his doorstep by three men armed with knives, according to local police. He is critically ill in hospital. The assault, in the town of Madaripur, is the latest in a series of recent attacks on religious minorities, secular writers and academics. – BBC

Christian hacked to death in latest Bangladesh attack, claimed by ISIS – Dhaka (AFP) – A Christian was hacked to death after Sunday prayers near a church in northwest Bangladesh in an attack — the latest in a series on religious minorities — claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. – Yahoo

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Elderly Buddhist monk HACKED to death amid surge of violence in Muslim-majority country – The body of 75-year-old Mongsowe U Chak was discovered today at the isolated place of worship in the Naikkhangchhari village, about 211 miles southeast of Dhaka, where he lived alone. The past few months have seen a huge rise in the number of violent attacks in Bangladesh, where the majority of the population is Muslim. – Express

Two gay rights activists hacked to death in Bangladesh; Al-Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for attack – Two people, including the editor of a magazine for the transgender community, have been hacked to death in the capital of Bangladesh. A third person, a security guard at the apartment building where the killings took place, was seriously wounded in Monday’s attack in Dhaka, in which six attackers murdered Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy. Mannan was the editor of Rupban, the only LGBT magazine in the country. – Aljazeera

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In the United States, Hindu congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has started a video and petition campaign to help fight the rise of violent Jihad within the Islamic State of Bangladesh. Her video and petition highlights the ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh, the decimation of the Hindu population from 18% in 1971 to less than 10% today, expulsions and land grabs, the rape and forced conversions of young Hindu women, and the ongoing attacks on Hindu places of worship. Please support Tulsi’s campaign to end Islamist violence in Bangladesh.

Transcript:

Aloha and Namaste. While we here in the United States may sometimes take our freedoms for granted, Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual terror. Forced conversions to Islam, rapes and abductions, extortions and land grabbing and forced expulsion, desecration and destruction of places of worship, are just a few of the types of violence that are currently being unleashed. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh has dwindled from 18% in 1971 to a meager 9.7% today. Accounting for the overall population growth during this time this is a net loss of about 53 million Hindus from Bangladesh. That’s close to the total population of a dozen European Union countries or that of more than fifteen U.S. States that has simply vanished from a tiny country about the size of Greece or the State of New York.

Compounding the problem is the rapid rise of violent jihadists in Bangladesh. We’ve seen in the news recently word of terrorist attacks, machete attacks and beheadings of Hindu priests, secularists, bloggers, and intellectuals. Yet there has been no real action taken by the Bangladesh government to quell this festering crisis.

We must stand together with the people of Bangladesh. Please sign this petition as we call on the Bangladesh government to take urgent action against the horrific oppression and terror that plagues religious minorities in Bangladesh every day.

 

 

[VIDEO] JFH interviews Ramesh Jaipal at White House – Pak Hindu Activist

Dec 11th, 2017 – Ramesh Jaipal is a very special Hindu youth activist living in Pakistan.  Despite dealing with overwhelming discrimination and social pressure, Jaipal runs a Hindu and minority rights organization in Pakistan called the Hare Rama Foundation (HRF). HRF’s mission is to mobilize the Pakistani Hindu and minority community on a common platform and to support them to carry out sustainable development and to work with poor and excluded people to eradicate poverty and injustice. Due to his involvement in many Hindu and minority rights causes in Pakistan, Jaipal was invited to America to take a nationwide tour of the Hindu communities here and to garner support for his cause. During this 2017 tour he has spoken before Hindu groups in New York, Dallas, Chicago, Washington DC and Atlanta.  Some of Jaipal’s initiatives in Pakistan have been to advocate for legal recognition of Hindu marriages, the delivery of Hindu land rights, and the abolition of divisive caste laws which unnecessary label certain Hindu communities as “Dalits”, a division which most Hindus do not recognize.

HINDU MARRIAGE BILL

For Hindu families, lack of a legal marriage registration mechanism is a matter of serious concern. Lack of legal recognition of Hindu marriages has resulted in many domestic, social and psychological problems for the Hindu families, especially women and girls. Hindu married couples face numerous problems in travelling and lodging outside of their place of residence. Due to an absence of any marriage registration mechanism, Hindu women do not get any share in their husbands’ property, and their access to health facilities and participation in social, economic and political processes is also minimal. For years Hindu women (already married to Hindu men and having children) have been abducted or forcibly converted to Islam and re-married to Muslim men without their consent. Since there is no documentation to prove the earlier marriage, their husbands or other family members are unable to take up the issue on legal grounds.

Due to the work of the Hare Rama Foundation, In 2016 Provincial Assembly of Sindh passed the Hindu Marriage Bill and Provincial of Punjab and KPK passed the resolution on Hindu Marriage Bill, The National Assembly also passed the Hindu Marriage Bill in September 2016. We hope that soon the Hindu Marriage Bill become a law for Pakistani Hindus.

RESIDENTIAL LAND RIGHTS 

Since the creation of Pakistan, Hindus have been deprived of the rights to land. The Hindus in southern Punjab are currently living in slum houses which are in the ownership of the government or landlords of that area. Hare Rama Foundation (HRF) started a campaign on the land rights issues in 2008. HRF conducted several survey’s on land ownership and found almost 95% of the Hindu community is living in slum areas with no land rights. HRF started lobbying and advocacy for residential land rights for the underprivileged community of Punjab and has organized several consultations, seminars, press conference and rallies to sensitize the media and civil society on the residential land rights issue.

WE ARE ALL HINDUS

Ramesh Jaipal and his Hare Rama Foundation believe that there is no such thing as a “Dalit” (untouchable).  We are all one religion, one people, we are all Hindus.  Jaipal and HRF take issue with the fact that the government of Pakistan divides up Hindus along outdated and unrecognized “caste” lines which don’t exist. Jaipal works to unite all Hindus together under one banner and does not allow himself or others to be labeled as “Dalit” by non-Hindus who are seeking to create rifts in Hindu society.

Bengali Hindus protest at UN on Veterans Day

November 11th, Veterans Day, Bengali Hindus took their well protected freedom of speech to the United Nations headquarters to protest the recent surge in anti-Hindu violence in the Islamic nation of Bangladesh. Since late October, Islamic radicals have either vandalized or destroyed nearly 20 Hindu temples along with hundreds of Hindu homes and businesses. The current spate of violence is being blamed on an alleged facebook comment which was said to be insulting to Islam.  The event was attended by the Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council, USA; the Bangladesh Minority Rights Movement; Justice for Hindus; Bangladesh Puja Samity; Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad; and many others.

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The protest focused on the Brahminbaria district of Bangladesh where the majority of the attacks occurred, which also included looting and the sexual harassment of Hindu women. The demonstrators demanded the immediate resignation of the Livestock Minister, Mohammad Sayedul Haque, believing that he was involved in instigating riots in Nasirnagar, Brahmanbaria. The meeting also demanded a statement from the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on the issue as well as a formal return to state secularism over Islam. It was announced that, if minister Sayedul Haque does not resign, the organizers will hold a rally in front of the White House in early December and a rally in front of Trump tower, subject to permission.

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The nation of Bangladesh (BD) is a Muslim majority state which borders India to the Northeast, Islam is the state religion of Bangladesh.  While the minority Hindus of Bangladesh have been experiencing intense and deadly persecution for decades, the intensity of violent crimes against non-Muslims and secularists has escalated recently with the influx of ISIS elements into the state. In the past months, several Hindus and other non-Muslims have been either murdered, injured or humiliated by Muslim citizens with Islamist motives, and many of these crimes have been claimed by ISIS. Here are some examples of recent attacks on minorities in Bangladesh:

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Hindu Priest Slaughtered In Bangladesh, ISIS claims responsibility – A 70-year-old Hindu priest was hacked to death in Bangladesh by three suspected Islamic State jihadists who nearly severed his head, the second priest from the community to be killed this year in the Muslim-majority nation which has seen a string of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular activists. – DNA INDIA

Hindu Tailor hacked to death in Bangladesh; ISIS claims responsibility – Police in Bangladesh say they have detained three people in relation to the killing of a Hindu tailor, who was hacked to death in the central Bangladeshi district of Tangail. Those detained for questioning include two party members, one from the opposition BNP party and a local leader of the Jamaat e Islami Islamist. – CNN

Hindu teacher in Bangladesh beaten up, made to do sit-ups by holding ears for ‘insulting’ Islam – – Dhaka: In yet another incident of mob justice against minorities in Bangladesh, a Hindu headmaster of a school in Narayanganj was on Friday punished by locals for allegedly insulting Islam. Shyamal was being punished and made to do sit-ups holding ears, said that the punishment was the only way to save the latter from the mob. – Zee News

Bangladesh killings: Hindu teacher attacked at home – A Hindu college teacher in Bangladesh has been attacked on his doorstep by three men armed with knives, according to local police. He is critically ill in hospital. The assault, in the town of Madaripur, is the latest in a series of recent attacks on religious minorities, secular writers and academics. – BBC

Christian hacked to death in latest Bangladesh attack, claimed by ISIS – Dhaka (AFP) – A Christian was hacked to death after Sunday prayers near a church in northwest Bangladesh in an attack — the latest in a series on religious minorities — claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. – Yahoo

Elderly Buddhist monk HACKED to death amid surge of violence in Muslim-majority country – The body of 75-year-old Mongsowe U Chak was discovered today at the isolated place of worship in the Naikkhangchhari village, about 211 miles southeast of Dhaka, where he lived alone. The past few months have seen a huge rise in the number of violent attacks in Bangladesh, where the majority of the population is Muslim. – Express

Two gay rights activists hacked to death in Bangladesh; Al-Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for attack – Two people, including the editor of a magazine for the transgender community, have been hacked to death in the capital of Bangladesh. A third person, a security guard at the apartment building where the killings took place, was seriously wounded in Monday’s attack in Dhaka, in which six attackers murdered Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy. Mannan was the editor of Rupban, the only LGBT magazine in the country. – Aljazeera

In the United States, Hindu congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has started a video and petition campaign to help fight the rise of violent Jihad within the Islamic State of Bangladesh. Her video and petition highlights the ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh, the decimation of the Hindu population from 18% in 1971 to less than 10% today, expulsions and land grabs, the rape and forced conversions of young Hindu women, and the ongoing attacks on Hindu places of worship. Please support Tulsi’s campaign to end Islamist violence in Bangladesh.

Transcript:

Aloha and Namaste. While we here in the United States may sometimes take our freedoms for granted, Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual terror. Forced conversions to Islam, rapes and abductions, extortions and land grabbing and forced expulsion, desecration and destruction of places of worship, are just a few of the types of violence that are currently being unleashed. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh has dwindled from 18% in 1971 to a meager 9.7% today. Accounting for the overall population growth during this time this is a net loss of about 53 million Hindus from Bangladesh. That’s close to the total population of a dozen European Union countries or that of more than fifteen U.S. States that has simply vanished from a tiny country about the size of Greece or the State of New York.

Compounding the problem is the rapid rise of violent jihadists in Bangladesh. We’ve seen in the news recently word of terrorist attacks, machete attacks and beheadings of Hindu priests, secularists, bloggers, and intellectuals. Yet there has been no real action taken by the Bangladesh government to quell this festering crisis.

We must stand together with the people of Bangladesh. Please sign this petition as we call on the Bangladesh government to take urgent action against the horrific oppression and terror that plagues religious minorities in Bangladesh every day.

NYC Bengali Hindus protest new violence against Hindus in Bangladesh

Fresh anti-Hindu violence has erupted in Bangladesh, this only a week after 15 Hindu Temples and 100’s of Hindu homes were set on fire by Islamic radicals. This week two more temples have been set ablaze along with several Hindu dwellings, causing Hindu families to flee their residences. The pogroms were sparked by a supposed facebook post which was described as being offensive to Islam.

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Despite often touting itself as a “secular democracy”, the state religion of Bangladesh is Islam and until relatively recently it was state policy to seize Hindu lands under a series of “Enemy Property Acts”, a policy which has only been partially rectified. Additionally, in the past year Bangladesh has become a growing haven for ISIS which has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks against non-Muslims within the nation.

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Due to the ongoing and prolonged violence against non-Muslims, many Bengali Hindus have immigrated to the United States, particularly to NYC. In light of the fact that their family members live under such difficult circumstances, the Bengali Hindus are known for being particularly vocal, bringing their grievances to the streets with large demonstrations.

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This week dozens of Bengali Hindu organizations, headed by the Hindu Council of North America, demonstrated in Jackson Heights, Queens to bring attention to the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh. The demonstrations coincide with the launch of a video and petition campaign put out by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, calling for the protection of Hindus and other non-Muslims within Bangladesh.

NYC Hindu Holidays

Please Donate To The Campaign
http://www.justiceforhindus.org/donate/


NYC Hindu Coalition

Project Managed By:
Vincent Bruno, Vijay Kumar, Avijit Roy, Pinaki Das,
Abhishek Bhaskar & Sivaramakrishnan Nagarajan

Coalition Leaders:
Nisha Ramracha
(Hindus Students Association International)
Sitangshu Guha
(Bangladeshi Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council);
Adity Sharma
(Justice For Hindus)

NYC Hindu Holidays Campaign

2nd Meeting With Community Affairs
17 Aug 2017 – NYC Hindus had a second meeting with the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, assisted by Mr. Marco A. Carrion and Nick Gulotta.  The group discussed possible ways to improve Hindu community involvement in the City’s education departments.  The group also plans to organize along county and district lines so as to streamline their ability to communicate with local city law makers and administrators.

Hindu Holidays Outside White House
11 Dec 2016 – Close to 100 Hindus gathered outside the White House to request that the federal administration take measures to further include the American Hindu presence in school and civic activities, such as consulting the community on Diwali and Holi education.

Hindu Holidays At NYC Comptroller
2 Nov 2016 – NYC Hindus bring the Hindu Holidays Campaign to Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Diwali party at City Hall. We spoke with both the Comptroller and Assembly woman Neeta Jain.

VIDEO

Hindu Holidays At NYC Hindu Unity Day
Sunday 08/30/15 (Queens, New York) Hindu Unity Day was put on by the Indian American Intellectuals Forum (IAIF). IAIF is one of the groups supporting the Hindu Holidays Campaign. At the event a table was set up for the Hindu Holidays Campaign and hundreds of signatures were collected.

1st Meeting With Community Affairs
Friday, 04/24/15 – A delegation of different Hindu Organizations met with the NYC Mayor’s Office Community Affairs Unit Mr. Marco A. Carrion. Mr. Carrion was assisted by Ms. Halen Ho, Director of the Queens Community Affairs Unit. The delegation handed over a few documents supporting Hindu Holidays in NYC schoolsuntitled2Hindu Holidays Demonstration Outside City Hall
Friday, 04/10/15 – HSAI joined with more than two dozen other organizations and nearly 200 Hindus to demonstrate outside City Hall for the inclusion of Hindu holidays in NYC public schools. The event made it to NY1 News and was covered by the Times of Guyana.

 

WHAT IS DIWALI

Celebration of Lakshmi

Diwali is a 5 night festival which takes place in mid to late autumn, beginning on the last night of the Hindu month of Ashvin and goes on into the Hindu month of Kartika. The highest point of the celebration takes place on the third day which commemorates the birth of goddess Lakshmi, the personification of spiritual, familial and material wealth and success. Hindus also venerate the Hindu god of medicine Dhanvantari on this day since he was born at the same time as Lakshmi. Lakshmi and Dhanvantari’s birth story are found in the Puranas which are anthologies on the backgrounds and histories of the gods, sages and heroes of Hinduism. According to the Agni and Padma Puranas, there was a war in heaven between the demons and the gods and the gods lost this war. The god Vishnu came up with a plan to trick the demons into churning the ocean which would bring up the amrita, a powerful drink which the gods could use to regain their strength and defeat the demons. As the gods and the demons churned the ocean, the amritra was not the only thing to float up from the ocean’s depths; many gods arose from the waters and took the side of the gods against the demons. One of these gods to arise from the ocean was the goddess Lakshmi, who fell in love with and married Vishnu. With the help of the gods who arose from the ocean and the amritra, the gods were able to defeat the demons and regain heaven. Lakshmi’s birth took place at a time when good overcame evil, when light overtook dark, and so the entirety of Diwali is a celebration of the triumph of righteousness and goodness over unrighteousness and wickedness.

The Story Of Ram & Sita In Diwali

To symbolize the victory of light, the festival of Diwali is marked by the lighting of large numbers of diyas (oil lamps) and firework displays. Tales of the triumphs of many Hindu heroes are recounted and celebrated during this time, but the most popular hero theme for Diwali is the story of Ram and his defeat of the wicked king Ravana. Ram was a prince and the 8th avatar (human personification) of the god Vishnu, the lord of preservation who saves humanity from moral and social decay. The story of Ram and his journeys along with his wife Sita are found in the Hindu Epic of the Ramayana. In the Ramayana, Hindus find the virtues of Ram and Sita pitted against the ignobilities of those who rule the world at that time. The story has Ram and Sita exiled to the forest and Sita kidnapped by the dubious king Ravana. As Ram struggles to save his love Sita, he builds an army by gaining the trust of several tribes and races, and finally vanquishes king Ravana and is reunited with Sita. Now a warrior and king in his own right, Ram returns to the kingdom of his exile and regains the thrown, ushering in a golden age of peace and prosperity. According to the Padma Purana, Ram’s return to his kingdom of Ayhodya was celebrate by the mass lighting of diyas, as is done at Diwali, thus the return of Ram to his kingdom and the holiday of Diwali are often viewed as synonymous by many Hindus. Anyone interested in learning more about the story of Ram may want to purchase a copy of the Ramayana by C. Rajagopalachari.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCE TO DIWALI

PADMA PURANA
The Manifestation Of Goddess Lakshmi

Bhisma expressed his desire to know about the manifestation of goddess Lakshmi.Pulastya replied Once, after being defeated by the demons, the deities went to Lord Vishnu and sought his help. Lord Vishnu instructed them to collect all the medicinal herbs, and put them in the Ksheersagar, so that after the churning of the ocean ambrosia could be retrieved.Lord Vishnu also advised them to use the Mandar mountain as a Churner and the serpent Sheshnag as a rope for churning the ocean.The deities then reached an agreement with the demons according to which both the groups were supposed to unitedly churn the ocean. The great Mandar mountain was uprooted and placed on the back of the tortoise the embodiment of Lord Vishnu. Sheshnag coiled around that mountain and both the ends were held by the demons and the deities respectively. The deities intelligently chose the tail-end, while the demons in their foolishness chose the mouth-end. The venom spilled by Sheshnag destroyed the power and strength off the demons. When the process of Churning began, the first thing to emerge from the sea-bed was Kamdhenu the holy cow. The deities claimed the ownership of this divine cow. Subsequently, Varuni (intoxicating drink) emerged from the sea-bed, which was claimed by the ignorant demons. During the process of ocean-churning, various kinds of things emerged out from the ocean Parijat, sixty crore apsaras, the moon and Kalkut (poison), which were distributed among the demons and the deities. Lord Mahadeva drank the Kalkut when he saw that there was no taker for it.

The churning of ocean also resulted into the manifestation of ambrosia-pot, Uchchaishrava (horse) and Airavat (elephant). Ultimately, goddess Lakshmi manifested herself, seated on a lotus. The deities eulogised her by chanting the mantras of Sri Sukta. The deities were desirous of having goddess Lakshmi on their side, so were the demons, but Lord Brahma instructed Vishnu to accept her as his consort. The demons became furious and snatched the ambrosia-pot from the hands of Sage Dhanvantari. Lord Vishnu then disguised himself as the most enchanting woman and fooled the demons into giving back the ambrosia-pot. Lord Vishnu gave the pot to the deities who became immortal after drinking ambrosia. A tremendous battle was fought between the demons and the deities. But, the demons were defeated in this battle and fled to the netherworld to protect their lives. The deities eulogised Lord Vishnu and returned to heaven.

AGNI PURANA
The Turtle

Many years ago there was a war between the devas (gods) and the daityas (demons) and the gods lost this war. They prayed to Vishnu to rescue them from the oppression of the demons. Vishnu told Brahma and the other gods that they should have a temporary truce with the demons. The two sides should get together to churn the ocean. Vishnu would ensure that the devas benefited more from this churning of the ocean than the daityas did.The truce was agreed upon and the two sides got ready to churn the ocean. The mountain Mandara was used as a churning rod and great sake Vasuki as the rope for churning. The devas grasped Vasuki’s tail and the daityas grasped Vasuki’s head. But as the churning began, the mountain Mandara which had no base, started to get immersed in the ocean. What was to be done Lord Vishnu came to the rescue. He adopted the form of a turtle and the peak was balanced on the turtle’s back.As the churning continued, terrible poison named kalkuta emerged from the depths of the ocean and was swallowed by Shiva. Shiva’s throat became blue from this poison and he is therefore known as Nilakantha, blue of throat. The goddess Varunai, the goddess of wine (sura), came out next. The gods readily accepted her and thus they came to be known as suras. But the demons rejected Varunai and were therefore known as asuras. She was followed by the Parijata tree, a beautiful tree that came to occupy the pride of place in Indras garden. A jewel named koustubha emerged and was accepted by Vishnu as his adornment. Three wonderful animals came out next  the cow Kapila, the horse Ucchaishrava and the elephant Airavata. They were followed by the apsaras, beautiful women who became the dancers of heaven. They were known as apsaras because they emerged from ap (water). The goddess Lakshmi or Sri came out next and was united with Vishnu.Finally, Dhanvantari emerged with a pot of amrita (the life giving drink) in his hands. Dhanvantari was the originator of medicine (ayurveda). The daityas led by Jambha gave half of the amrita to the devas and departed with the remaining half.

But Vishnu quickly adopted the form of a beautiful woman. So beautiful was the woman that the demons were charmed. Pretty lady, they said. Take the amrita and serve it to us. Marry us.

Vishnu accepted the amrita, but he had no intention of giving it to the demons. He served it to the gods instead. There was only one demon who was somewhat clever. His name was Rahu. He adopted the form of Chandra, the moon-god, and succeeded in drinking some of the amrita. The sun-god and the moon-god noticed what was happening and reported it to Vishnu. Vishnu thereupon cut off Rahu’s head with a sword.

But Rahu had drunk the amrita, so he could not die. He prayed to Vishnu and Vishnu granted him a boon. The boon was that occasionally Rahu would be permitted to swallow up the sun and the complained about him. You can see this happening at the time of the solar and the lunar eclipses. People who give alms during such eclipses are blessed.

The gods obtained the amrita and the demons did not. Thus, the gods became more powerful than the demons. They defeated the demons and regained heaven.

PADMA PURANA
Sri Rama’s Return From Lanka

Once, Sages requested Suta to describe about Sri Rama’s return from Lanka. Suta narrated the same tale, which Sheshnag had once told Vatsyayan. Sheshnag said After the killing of demon king Ravana, Sri Rama appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka. He then decided to return to Ayodhya on Pushpak-Vimana, which Vibhishan had presented to him. He along with Sita, Lakshman, Sugreev and Hanuman boarded the aircraft and flew towards Ayodhya.The earth looked beautiful from such a high altitude and Sri Rama was continuously describing about the importance of various places over which the aircraft flew. As the aircraft was about to enter the airspace of Ayodhya, Sri Rama recognized Bharata, who was living at Nandigram at that time. Bharata had vowed not to enter Ayodhya till the return of Sri Rama, hence he stayed at Nandigram situated at the outskirts of Ayodhya awaiting Sri Rama’s return. He led an austere life as the result of which he had become weak and feeble.

On seeing Bharata, Sri Rama instructed Hanuman to inform him about his (Rama’s) arrival. Hanuman went to the hermitage of Bharata and informed him about Sri Rama’s arrival. Bharata’s joy knew no bound and he expressed his desire to reward Hanuman for bringing such auspicious news. Bharata then accompanied Hanuman and went to meet Sri Rama. Sri Rama’s heart was filled with grief when he saw Bharata, who looked like a hermit in his Valkal and Kaupin. On the other hand Bharata cursed himself for being the cause of Sri Rama’s miseries. Bharata asked for Sri Rama’s forgiveness and said O Lord! You had to go into exile only because of me. I can never be absolved of my sin.

Sri Rama consoled him and after taking Bharata into his embrace enquired about his welfare. He told Bharata that he had to undergo the sufferings of exile because of his own destiny. You are not at fault. Don’t curse yourself for my misery. said Sri Rama. At last all of them including Bharata boarded Pushpak Vimana and the aircraft took- off for Ayodhya.Continuing with Sri Rama’s tale, Sheshnag said When Sumanth brought the news of Sri Rama’s arrival at Ayodhya, people danced in joy, Preparations started being made for Sri Rama’s grand reception. The whole city of Ayodhya was decorated with rows of lighted lamps.

Sri Rama and Sita alighted from the Pushpak Vimana and both of them were carried in a palanquin to the palace. People stood in queues on both sides of the road with folded hands. Sri Rama blessed them by raising his hand. First of all Rama went to meet Kaikayi who was full of remorse and guilt. Sri Rama consoled her and then went to meet Sumitra to pay his obeisance to her. At last, he went to meet his own mother Kaushalya, who was dying to see him. Kaushalya blessed Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshman. Bharata then instructed the royal astrologers to decide upon an auspicious moment for Sri Rama’s coronation. Thus Sri Rama became the king of Ayodhya. During his reign peace and prosperity prevailed everywhere. People were virtuous and there was no sign of sin.

 

 

 

USA congresswoman calls for protection of Bangladeshi Hindus

Saturday, Nov 5th, 2016

Anti-Hindu violence has reignited once again in the Islamic nation of Bangladesh. Over the past week, some 15 Hindu temples and over 100 Hindu homes were vandalized by crowds of radical Islamists; the attacks are supposedly in retaliation for an alleged facebook comment posted by a village Hindu, the comment was said to be insulting to Islam.


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These attacks are ending off a particularly violent year for the anti-Hindu elements of Bangladesh. Over the past year, there has been an ever increasing ISIS element within Bangladesh which has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks on non-Muslims, including the murder of elderly Hindu and Buddhist priests, the hacking to death of a Hindu tailor and a Hindu teacher, the murder of two Christians outside a prayer meeting, and the targeted slaughter of two gay rights activists.

These most recent attacks have sparked protests both within and outside the nation of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, Hindu youth activists have brought their message to the street with large demonstrations demanding that the Bangladeshi government take action to protect the religious minorities of the state. In Queens, New York, members of the Bangladeshi Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) staged awareness demonstrations to highlight the plight of Hindus living in their homeland. Could it be possible that Bangladesh cannot uphold its secular values because Islam is the state religion

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In the United States, Hindu congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has started a video and petition campaign to help fight the rise of violent Jihad within the Islamic State of Bangladesh. Her video and petition highlights the ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh, the decimation of the Hindu population from 18% in 1971 to less than 10% today, expulsions and land grabs, the rape and forced conversions of young Hindu women, and the ongoing attacks on Hindu places of worship. Please support Tulsi’s campaign to end Islamist violence in Bangladesh.

 

Transcript:

Aloha and Namaste. While we here in the United States may sometimes take our freedoms for granted, Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual terror. Forced conversions to Islam, rapes and abductions, extortions and land grabbing and forced expulsion, desecration and destruction of places of worship, are just a few of the types of violence that are currently being unleashed. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh has dwindled from 18% in 1971 to a meager 9.7% today. Accounting for the overall population growth during this time this is a net loss of about 53 million Hindus from Bangladesh. That’s close to the total population of a dozen European Union countries or that of more than fifteen U.S. States that has simply vanished from a tiny country about the size of Greece or the State of New York.

Compounding the problem is the rapid rise of violent jihadists in Bangladesh. We’ve seen in the news recently word of terrorist attacks, machete attacks and beheadings of Hindu priests, secularists, bloggers, and intellectuals. Yet there has been no real action taken by the Bangladesh government to quell this festering crisis.

We must stand together with the people of Bangladesh. Please sign this petition as we call on the Bangladesh government to take urgent action against the horrific oppression and terror that plagues religious minorities in Bangladesh every day.

Is Doniger’s student laying a trap for Hindus with “Uttara”?

Wendy Doniger is a controversial Professor of Religion at the University of Chicago; her area of focus is on Hinduism. Doniger’s greatest claim to fame is that in 2014 her book “The Hindus, An Alternative History” was taken out of circulation in India by the publisher (Penguin) after it was revealed that the book contained gross mistranslations of Sanskrit as well and many factual and historical errors.  She was also accused of overemphasizing the sex-positive aspects of Hinduism in what appeared to be a lewd and sullying manner. The book was not BANNED in India as many tried to imply; Penguin voluntarily withdrew the book from Indian markets, likely because they knew ensuing litigation would reveal the shoddy intellectual quality of the work and tarnish their brand. However, Doniger did gain international sympathy from the mainstream media who focused on some of the more emotional and volatile reactions to the book’s inaccuracies which Doniger’s proponents tried to paint as being fundamentalist.

Western academics of the ilk of Doniger are very much aware of the fact that due to centuries of cruel oppression and social demonization that there is a reactive streak in many Hindus, they know Hindus have a tendency to jump at the slightest provocation, and Doniger’s team may very well be looking to use that to their advantage.  The last time Doniger tried to use the reflexes of Hindus by insulting their injuries it blew up in her face, she became the subject of academic criticism and her reputation was tarnished.  Many aligned academics watched as this drama unfolded and perhaps realized that this time they needed to be a little more careful before provoking the wounded tiger of Hinduism for their own gains. One such person could be Arshia Sattar, Wendy Doniger’s PhD student.

Arshia Sattar
PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago

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Arshia Sattar obtained her PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 1990, Wendy Doniger was her doctoral advisor. Sattar has recently published her new book “Uttara: The Book Of Answers” which seeks to give a feminist, anti-patriarchal perspective on a controversial addendum to the famous Ramayana of Valmiki. The cover of Sattar’s work could easily lead one to believe that she is seeking to raise ire rather than discussion. The artwork of the cover shows Sita (wife of Rama) being consumed by flames while accusatory hands point down at her. The infamous Doniger herself is quoted on the cover: “A terrific read and a revolutionary contribution to our understanding of the Valmiki Ramayana”. Sattar and Doniger know that not everyone in the world is a PhD, and we don’t all have the time to read their works, but what they do likely know is that to the casual observer this looks like an accusation against Hinduism. Namely, that the Ramayana encouraged the burning of women whose chastity was in question and so Hinduism encapsulates barbaric misogyny in its so-called “book of answers”. But maybe Sattar wants Hindus to react, maybe she wants us to lose our cool so that she can surreptitiously prove a point.

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A review of the book on Vagabomb states that Sattar turns the Uttara Kanda, the so-called last and seventh book of the Ramayana, on its head by providing a new and feminist ending. The Ramayana is a Hindu epic which follows the trials and tribulations of a hero named Rama as he travels to vanquish an evil king named Ravana who has kidnapped his wife Sita.  Left without any further explanation, the book review posted on Vagabomb would leave the naive reader to believe that the Ramayana undisputedly ends with the banishment of Rama’s wife Sita because the kingdom is gossiping that perhaps she could have lost her chastity while kidnapped. This is an inflammatory accusation which many nominal Hindus may not be able to quickly challenge on an intellectual level, and so it is possible some could resort to emotionalism in trying to defend their religion. Should some well meaning but unprepared Hindus try to defame the accusers without addressing the accusations, this could play into stereotypes and make it look like Hindus approve of or are trying to cover up for practices which would be viewed as extremely backward to the modern world, and maybe this is exactly what Sattar and her allies want.

Doniger and her like may have learned something from their affair in India with the retracting of Doniger’s book “The Hindus”… if you are going to garner public outrage, you better make sure you have your facts straight. It would seem that despite the incendiary cover art and snarky book reviews, Sattar has made sure that she presents a historically accurate analysis of the Uttara Kanda. In an article published by Sattar in the online zine Scroll India entitled “Why the Uttara Kanda changes the way the Ramayana should be read“, Sattar very concisely conveys the fact that the Uttara kanda where Sita is banished to the forest for presumed impurity is an ideological addition which was inserted some time later by completely different authors. According to Sattar’s analysis, Sita’s banishment was likely introduced by Vishnu sectarians trying to reduce Hindu pluralism into a more manageable and austere semi-monotheism. So even Sattar herself admits that the original Ramayana of Valmiki ended with the lasting love of Rama and Sita and that originally Sita was never banished as the later additions state.

But Sattar’s nuanced approach to the Uttara Kanda leads to many questions, such as if she knows that this version of the story is a later addition, why not make this the obvious topic of the book? Sattar had the option of showing her unbiased intellectual capacity, she could have used her privilege to bring Hinduism’s diversity and ideological fluidity to the forefront, but instead she chose to highlight what could be perceived by outsiders to be misogynistic caricatures of the extremely pluralistic and obviously changeable faith of Hinduism. Her writings would lead non-Hindus to believe that Hinduism needs some kind of feminist re-writing, that it cannot be accepted as it stands.  This is not only inaccurate but it is also malicious on the part of Sattar. Rather than react in any irate fashion to her depictions, perhaps it would be best to spread Sattar’s article as it makes all our points on the issue of the Uttara Kanda for us, that is was a sectarian and ideologically driven addition to the original text which was introduced a great time later from the original writing and by different authors. (SEE: “Why the Uttara Kanda changes the way the Ramayana should be read“).  And if Sattar is looking for a feminist interpretation of Hinduism, she need not invent one herself, she can kindly refer to Indrani’s hymn in the Rig Veda where the Queen of Heaven boldly proclaims herself the be the master of her husband and the ruler of the universe!
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RIG VEDA 10.159
Saci Paulomi.

1. YON Sun hath mounted up, and this my happy fate hath mounted high.
I knowing this, as conqueror have won my husband for mine own.
2 I am the banner and the head, a mighty arbitress am I:
I am victorious, and my Lord shall be submissive to my will.
3 My Sons are slayers of the foe, my Daughter is a ruling Queen:
I am victorious: o’er my Lord my song of triumph is supreme.
4 Oblation, that which Indra gave and thus grew glorious and most high,—
This have I offered, O ye Gods, and rid me of each rival wife.
5 Destroyer of the rival wife, Sole Spouse, victorious, conqueror,
The others’ glory have I seized as ’twere the wealth of weaker Dames.
6 I have subdued as conqueror these rivals, these my fellow-wives,
That I may hold imperial sway over this Hero and the folk.

USA Hindus protest murder of Pakistani Hindu teen at U.N.

SEE ALSO:
Hindu Refugee Camps & Pak Hindus Protest at UN

Aug 1st, 2016 – JFH along with the “Sindhi Academic & Cultural Society of North America” protested the latest targeted murder of a Hindu teen by Islamist mobs in Sindh province, Pakistan.

PLEASE DONATE

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In late July, Dewan Sateesh Kumar, 17, was shot dead and his friend Avinas was critically injured when a Muslim mob attacked the youths in a tea stall in the Gothki district. The murder was followed by attacks on Hindu owned shops.

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The anti-Hindu murder and accompanying violence was in response to a supposed desecration of a Quran.  Local Muslims accused a drug addict, Amar Lal, who had recently converted to Islam and was living in a Mosque, of burning pages of the Quran and leaving the book outdoors for others to observe.

SEE: Gulf News – Hindu youth killed, another injured in mob attack in Pakistan

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Pakistan is by its own constitutional definition an Islamic state.  According to the 2nd article of the Pakistani constitution, Islam is the state religion, further provisions state that the President of Pakistan must be a Muslim, and so the theocratic bias in favor of Islam and Muslims in Pakistan is obvious.

For the past 60+ years, Hindus have been experiencing a slow genocide and forced migration within Pakistan, religious cleansing along with exodus of the Hindu population has reduced the Hindu population from 22% in 1947 (time of partition) to less than 2% today.

SEE: Hudson Institute: Cleansing Pakistan of Minorities

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Every year, 100’s of young underage Hindu girls are kidnapped at gunpoint by Islamic gangs, forcibly converted to Islam, and married to Muslim men many times their age. These activities are sanctioned by the Islamic courts within Pakistan who refuse to return these kidnapping victims even when they are found and their underage status is verified.

SEE: Dawn: 1,000 minority girls forced in marriage every year: report

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Hindu youth who oppose Pakistan’s enforced state religion all to often go “missing” and are never seen again. Pakistan’s Islamic blasphemy laws make all religious minorities in Pakistan soft targets for the state’s wanton death penalty.

SEE: Guardian: Pakistan court sentences Christian man to death for blasphemy

The United Nations and the United States must take notice of the ongoing human rights violations against non-Muslims living in Pakistan and reconsider their support and aid to the Islamic Republic.

Big thanks to Subhash Chander for organizing the event! 

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