|Letter to Secretary Rice by IRPP|
Source: Institute on Religion and Public Policy
Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Encouraging the Ban on US Visit of Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, for Severe Violations of Religious Freedom
Washington, DC, February 23, 2005
February 21, 2005
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St. NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Rice,
We are writing to encourage the denial of a visa or, should he already have a visa, barred entrance into the country for Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat in India, in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)) for his repeated engagement in particularly severe violations of religious freedom. Mr. Modi is the planned chief guest of the 2005 Annual Convention and Trade Show of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to be held on March 24-26.
Since taking office as Chief Minister of Gujarat on October 7, 2001, Mr. Modi has pursued a campaign of extremism targeting religious minorities in Gujurat. The most egregious violation of religious freedom engaged by Mr. Modi ´µ the orchestrated attacks in Gujurat in 2002 in which more than 2,000 Muslims were killed during government condoned riots - unfortunately falls outside the consideration of the International Religious Freedom Act. The aftermath of the riots, however, has demonstrated that Mr. Modi and his BJP government are not in compliance with the spirit and standards of IRFA. Of particular note is the statement by the Indian Supreme Court in 2004 that trials surrounding Gujarat will never be fairly held due to Mr. Modi³ıs state leadership. Furthermore, an announcement in January 2005 that the primary motivation for the riots - a train fire that killed dozens, mostly Hindus - was not planned or executed by religiously-motivated Muslims, lends credence to the theory that Mr. Modi³ıs government planned and assisted in the execution of the riots, a theory supported by the 2003 and 2004 International Religious Freedom reports.
The following are just a few examples of Mr. Modi³ıs violations of religious rights over the past 24 months as listed in the 2004 and 2003 reports published by the International Religious Freedom office at the State Department:
· "The Gujarat State Higher Secondary Board, to which nearly 98 percent of schools in Gujarat belong, requires the use of certain textbooks in which Nazism is condoned. In the Standard 10 social studies textbook, the "charismatic personality" of "Hitler the Supremo" and the "achievements of Nazism" are described at length. The textbook does not acknowledge Nazi extermination policies or concentration camps except for a passing reference to "a policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and [advocacy for] the supremacy of the German race."
· "During the period covered by this report, the states of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat passed anticonversion laws. Under both laws, those "forcing" or "alluring" people to convert are subject to criminal action. Since that which constitutes forced conversions or allurement is not specified, human rights groups, Christian religious leaders, and Dalits have expressed concern that authorities will use these laws selectively in the future to shut down educational, medical, and other social services provided by Christian groups to Dalits and "tribals""
· "The Gujarat state government aggressively surveyed Christian families and Christian agencies during the reporting period, allegedly under the orders of Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The survey activities were carried out by police, often in the middle of the night. The survey was first implemented in February and continued through May, even after the Gujarat High Court ruled in March that the survey was illegal."
Secretary Rice, we ask that you do not allow this egregious violator the privilege of entering the United States, in keeping with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. His planned campaign of religious violence and persecution has been evidenced in his severe violations of religious freedom and is due cause for him to be turned away from our borders.
Joseph K. Grieboski, President, Institute on Religion and Public Policy
C. Naseer Ahmad, Public Relations Secretary, Ahmadi Muslim Community
Farook Chandiwala, Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee, Birmingham, Alabama
Angana Chatterji, Associate Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies
S. Paramjitinder Sight (PJ) Dhillon, General Secretary, Shrimoni Akali Dal Amristar (America Region) Inc.
Deborah Fikes, Director, Midland Ministerial Alliance, Midland, Texas
Jaswant S. Hothi, Senior Vice President, American Gurdware Prabhandak Committee
Kulwant S Hundal, Religious Secretary, Sikh Religious Society, Palatine
Acharya Swami Krishnapriya Hutner, Executive Director, Kashi Church Foundation
Jaskaran Kaur, Esq, Executive Director, ENSAAF
Hyder M. Khan, MD, Chairman, Supporters of Human Rights in India
Tom Malinowski, Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
Faith J. H. McDonnell, Director, Religious Liberty Programs, Institute on Religion & Democracy
Ambassador Tom Melady, Senior Diplomat in Residence, Institute of World Politics
Raza Mir, Associate Professor of Management, College of Business, William Paterson University
Fr. Cedric Prakash S.J., Director, Prashant
The Rev. Dr. Keith Roderick , Secretary General of the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights
Nanci Ricks, President, Dalit Freedom Network
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Secretary General, Islamic Society of North America
Nina Shea, Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House
Daljit Singh, Initiating Committee Member , Singh Sabha of Michigan
Kashmir Singh, President, Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society
Ranjit Singh, President, Sikh Youth of America
Ranjit Singh, Director, Voices for Freedom
Satpal Singh, President, Gurdwara Singh Sabha
Sarah Stern, Director, Government and Political Affairs Office, American Jewish Congress
Reverend Dominic J. Totaro, SJ, Director, Jesuit Centre, Benin, Nigeria
Balwant Singh Virk, President, Sacramento Sikh Society
William C. Walsh, Bisceglie & Walsh
Joanna Williams, Professor, History of Art & South/Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley