Endorsements of the Hindu American Foundation's 2005
Hindu Human Rights Report
Below are endorsements from HAF's report, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2005
"The 2005 human rights report of the Hindu American Foundation is a valuable resource for those of us concerned about religious freedom and human rights for all people around the world. As the leader of the Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom, I am grateful for this report that brings needed attention to the many instances of discrimination, harassment, violence, and destruction of temples and property experienced by Hindus in South Asia, especially in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Its recommendations will be useful as we seek to ensure the right of all people in all places to practice their religion in peace, absent from discrimination and persecution."
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
“We thank the Hindu American Foundation for its ongoing efforts in keeping Congress informed about human rights issues worldwide.”
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
“Thank you, Nikhil for your tremendous work on behalf of the Hindu-American Foundation and for inviting me to speak on the occasion of the release of the Hindu American Foundation’s Second Annual Report of the status of Human Rights of Hindus in South Asia, Afghanistan and Fiji. As someone who fled Communist oppression, I fully understand the need to fight valiantly for the cause of freedom for all, especially for those persecuted for their religious beliefs. The 2005 Report documents that the Hindu people are frequent recipients of ethnic cleansing, terrorism and discriminatory laws- including over 500 sobering accounts of murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, and the desecration of property and holy sites.
This year’s edition of the Human Rights report highlights human rights abuses against Hindu’s beyond South Asia, including the island nation of Fiji. According to report, Hindus in Fiji are repeatedly subjected to attacks on community leaders and their places of worship. Such information is of serious concern, seeing that Hindu’s comprise 38% of the population residing in Fiji. Beyond simple documentation, this unique report is also helping to raise awareness of these little-addressed abuses, as well as the rising of Islamist extremism and the spread of political violence’s in South Asia. The Hindu American Foundation’s report is a valuable contribution to all those committed to fighting discrimination and human rights violations, all over the world. As an ardent human rights advocate in the United States Congress, Ileana will continue to work with her colleagues to ensure that all are afforded the protection they deserve, especially Hindus who are persecuted by extremist groups.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
“I commend the Hindu American Foundation for its excellent work in completing this critical report. By documenting human rights violations against Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Fiji, and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Hindu American Foundation continues to raise global awareness of these abuses. I will work with the foundation by informing my colleagues in Congress of the findings in this report.”
Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
“As past Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Indian and Indian Americans, I am pleased that the Hindu American Foundation continues to be a strong advocate for Hindus around the world. By reporting ongoing human rights violations, this valuable survey will help keep my colleagues and I informed on a critical problem threatening members of the world’s third largest religious group.”
Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC)
“I commend the Hindu American Foundation for their work to promote tolerance and combat hate, discrimination, and terror. This 2nd Annual report on the status of human rights violations against Hindus in South Asia provides an important chronicle of abuses that are all to common, even today. I hope that this report will draw appropriate attention to the despicable practices of genocide and ethnic cleansing, so that we can take immediate steps to ensure the physical, political, and economic security of Hindus in South Asia.”
Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
“I would like to commend the Hindu American Foundation for publishing this critical report which demonstrates how much work must be done in combating human rights violations against Hindus worldwide. By bringing these abuses into the light of day, the Hindu American Foundation is leading the fight for international policies that promote tolerance and understanding of Hindu beliefs and bring an end to religious persecution.”
Congressman Jim Davis (D-FL)
“I commend the Hindu American Foundation for continuing to highlight the treatment of Hindu minorities worldwide. Clearly, this report emphasizes the ongoing struggle for religious freedom across the globe.”
Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
“This report is a real wake-up call for all of us who believe strongly in freedom and freedom of religion. There is no place for discrimination and human rights violations. America needs to be strong voice for religious freedom worldwide.”
Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN)
“HAF’s human rights report is a welcome analysis of the situation of Hindus across the world. Often ignored situations of serious oppression, such as in Bangladesh, are described in detail.”
Managing Editor, Hinduism Today Magazine
“Everyone who is concerned with obtaining the necessary human rights and privileges for people of all religions should be indebted to the Hindu American Foundation for bringing into the light the serious discriminatory practices and unacceptable behavior which in any way makes for insensitive treatment of Hindus and their faith. The impressive scholarship and challenging research in the Hindu American Foundation’s study provides a unique foundation to secure long overdue attention to the concerns of the Hindu community. All of us who are concerned with the true meaning of human rights must lend our support to the Hindu community whenever and wherever ignorant and cruel judgments isolate and demean Hindus and any other minority which is suffering, even briefly, pain, indifference and antagonistic assaults.”
Ernest H. Weiner
Executive Director, Northern California Region
American Jewish Committee
“It gives me great pain to note that extremist Muslims, a tiny minority, are unleashing terror on our Hindu brothers and sisters. In this day and age - we all must work jointly to root out extremism not only from the Indian continent but all over the world.”
President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
“The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomes this report which will help the international community and Non-governmental Organizations to have a broader understanding of the human rights situation in that important region of the world.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Associate Dean and Co-Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
“The Survey of Human Rights Reports 2005 prepared by the Hindu American Foundation is excellent. The Bangladesh Hindu minorities will benefit from this report and the extent of labour and energy made by your team is very much praiseworthy and the fruits of your labour and untiring efforts have brought a new change/hope in the minds of the minorities of Bangladesh. HRCBM-Dhaka is very much grateful to you all for the dedication.”
President, Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities-Dhaka
“On behalf of the members and office bearers of the Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian Unity Council, USA, I write to gratefully acknowledge your continued coverage of the fact that the religious and ethnic minorities of Bangladesh, particularly the Hindus, are being systematically eliminated through a state-sponsored campaign of religious and ethnic cleansing. Your report accurately reflects the reality, and we hope if you kindly continue to apprise the community of civilized nations of our plight then some day the issue might receive the attention that it deserves. Once again we remain profoundly grateful to HAF for your consistent effort to educate the world about our plight, which has remained largely unreported.”
Spokesperson and Director of Communications & Publications
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, USA
“I recently reviewed your report entitled “Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights (2005)”. On behalf of the Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF), I commend Hindu American Foundation for highlighting the human rights problems faced by Hindus throughout South Asia. IAKF in particular appreciates your highlighting the plight of the minority Hindu population in Kashmir. The Kashmiri Pandits have suffered from terrorism since 1989, and have been displaced from their homeland. Tens of thousands still live in makeshift ‘refugee’ camps in Jammu. Their situation is often overlooked by human rights observers, and their struggle for repatriation made difficult by many factors, mainly the lack of security guarantee in the Valley of Kashmir. Your report accurately points to the groups responsible for terrorism in Kashmir, and makes appropriate conclusions to solve this problem. The 2005 Hindu Human Rights report is exhaustively referenced and should be used as a research vehicle for individuals and organizations alike who focus on human rights abuses in South Asia, including the rights of the minority Kashmiri Hindus. Once again, I commend you and your organization on its work.”
Rahul T. Pandit, M.D.
President, Indo-American Kashmir Forum
“I congratulate the Hindu American Foundation, the voice of the 2 million strong Hindu American community, for producing the 2nd Annual Hindu Human Rights report on the status of Hindus in regions of South Asia where they are minorities. It is indeed an objective compilation from reports by credible human rights groups of the bigotry and hatred that Hindus have faced in parts of South Asia, Afghanistan and Fiji. Hate and bigotry has to be fought with greatest might and eliminated from the face of this earth. I can’t think of a better organization than HAF which is focused on educating policy makers and leaders of a diverse community to promote understanding and harmony.”
Founding member, Indo-American Kashmir Forum,
Kashmiri Overseas Association and the Indo-American Community Federation
“When a single Afghan man was recently threatened with death for converting to Christianity, there was a global outcry, and rightly so. But Hindus face such persecution daily in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, and other parts of the world as well. Even within India, the homeland of Hinduism, Hindus are subjected to harassment and intimidation by groups seeking to convert them to other religions. Hinduism is a religion famous for its liberality and tolerance of religious diversity. But the same respect is not being extended to the religious freedom of Hindus. Murder, rape, intimidation, the destruction of places of worship: these are the brutal realities faced by many Hindus daily for practicing their peaceful and inoffensive religion. The world needs to act with the same vigor to protect the human rights of Hindus as it does for the sake of other groups.”
Jeffrey D. Long, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religion and Asian Studies
“This report by the Hindu American Foundation about the religious persecution suffered by Hindus in South Asia is a real eye-opener. As a minority in Islamic societies that consider them to be “idolaters,” Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan face unimaginable persecution routinely. What is most disturbing is that this blatant oppression goes unnoticed by our government and seems to have no impact on our foreign policy. And it is not only Muslims who engage in Hindu-bashing; the fundamentalist Christian majority of Fiji is hardly better, although anti-Hindu policies have not been adopted by the government there. The saddest case of all, however, is in Kashmir, where for decades Hindus have been subjected to ruthless ethnic cleansing. The remarkable Hindu culture of Kashmir has been obliterated there, and Kashmiris suffer an exile that is unknown and ignored. One hopes that this report will be widely read in government circles and promulgated in the media. This is a heartbreaking story indeed.”
Nathan Katz, Ph.D.
Professor of Religious Studies
Florida International University
“A really exceptional piece of research and dedication that makes us all Hindus aware of our civilizational past and brings us current to the injustices of minority-ism in religiously intolerant communities. The Hindu ethos is peace loving, spiritual, and ever-exploring the truth in life, and in this day and age of global inter-connectedness it is but obligatory on different religions to share, learn, and co-create happiness for the individual soul. HAF has done an exceptional job of highlighting the pain of human existence in intolerant circumstances. The Gods, in any religion, will not forgive devaluation of human life. I wish HAF’s efforts will lead to the eradication of human pain and suffering from my fellow brethren’s lives, as with intolerances in any and all religions.”
CIO of The Imagindia Institute, New Delhi
“Namaste. Thank you for your wonderful work. It is extremely important to make sure that people do not lose the awareness of this information and the facts that you have presented. I also feel strongly that the recommendations that you have included should be taken seriously. I can only hope that the governments of the US and India will see this as the eyes of the larger Hindu community, such as those in the US, watching what India is doing and the injustice that is going on against Hindus across the globe. I am encouraged to see the work that HAF is doing to keep raising this information in front of those who may make a difference, either politicians, or simply those of us who raise our voices about such issues.”
President, The Vedic Friends Association
"The second annual Human Rights report of HAF is a very welcome and necessary supplement to the work of Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD). Based in The Hague (The Netherlands) and being an organization with special focus on minority rights in Asia, GHRD expresses deep appreciation for the detailed level of research in this annual report. GHRD will take responsibility for bringing this report under the attention of media and governments in Europe."
Chairman, Global Human Rights Defence
"Agni Foundation, being a Hindu organisation, is very proud on this second annual Human Rights report by HAF. It is, at the same time, sad and true that Hindus in Asia are being marginalized with no action or attention from the western world. Recognition of this matter, shown in detail by this research done by HAF, is very necessary not only in Hindu circles, but especially in the ignorant societies themselves. Therefore, Agni Foundation will distribute this report in Europe and demand attention from media and governments."
Chairman, Agni Foundation
Citizens of South Asian Indian origin and/or descent constitute an increasingly important element within the rich tapestry of the American republic, both for their own individual contributions to the communities in which the live and work and for their reinforcement of the strategic links between the United States and India, the two largest democracies in the world. Many of these individuals, as the overwhelming majority of Indians, hail from the Hindu tradition, one of humanity’s oldest expressions of religious aspiration and the third largest religious community in the world.
In this context, the publication of Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights (2005) is a very significant event. As the second such annual report by the Hindu American Foundation, it represents a major milestone in the history of the Indian American—particularly its Hindu American component—community as it joins other ethnic and religious groups in bringing its concerns to the public square. On this achievement, the reports authors and the farsighted civic leaders sponsoring their work should be congratulated.
Perhaps more importantly, however, the report raises a number of worrying concerns about one ancient faith community’s experience with contemporary challenges to that most basic of human rights, the unalienable right to freely pursue through the religion of one’s heritage or choice the eternal riddles of the human condition: What is humanity? From whence does it come? To where is it headed?
This report deserves careful reading and consideration by scholars, policymakers, and all men and women of good will.
Dr. J. Peter Pham
Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs