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Statement of support from Interfaith Freedom Foundation
March 9, 2005

The Interfaith Freedom Foundation, as a civil rights organization dedicated to defending religious liberty, is appalled that Mr. Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, a state in western India, will be allowed to visit the US in March 2005 and will reportedly be speaking at several venues. Most notoriously, he is scheduled to speak to the Asian American Hotel Owners' Association (AAHOA) on March 24-26, 2005. Every international human rights organization of any consequence has identified Mr. Modi as being deeply involved in the genocide against Muslims in the state of Gujarat during the period between February 28-March 02, 2002. These organizations include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Commission on International Religious Freedom of our own US State Department.

The 2002 genocide in which Mr. Modi was involved resulted in the death of some 2,000 Muslims and the estimated displacement of 200,000 more. The violence also included mass rapes of Muslim women and public torture of children from Muslim families.

The Interfaith Freedom Foundation supports Coalition Against Genocide in its campaign. The Interfaith Freedom Foundation is also considering a call for a boycott of businesses affiliated with the AAHOA, especially since the timing of the invitation to Mr. Modi suggests that his appearance is actually a commemoration of the horrible events of March 2002. Such a public "celebration" of one of the most heartless pogroms in recent history is nothing less than a deliberate provocation to the people of the US.

All those who cherish religious liberty, and all people of goodwill generally, should contact their elected representatives and demand that Mr. Modi be prevented from entering our country. This is a transparent attempt by Mr. Modi and other religious extremists to sow division and hatred in our communities, and to pour salt in the wounds of those who mourn the dead in the Gujarat massacre.

The US says it supports liberty for all religions. Will it be willing to act on its rhetoric in this case, and keep this hate-driven extremist from poisoning our country with his appeal to religious bigotry?

Lawrence Swaim
Executive Director
Interfaith Freedom Foundation
Post Office Box 133
Fremont CA 94537