- On Tuesday, the US government released its State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016
- The report lists the growing attacks against Hindus in India as well as abroad
- Particularly in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Malaysia, the attacks against Hindus is common
US, August 17, 2017: On Tuesday, August 17, the US Government released its State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report (IRFR) for the year 2016. The report lists growing number of attacks against Hindus in India as well as abroad.
The report, released by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, particularly talks about the growing number of assaults on Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Furthermore, there were also mentioned incidents of assault against Sikhs in Denmark and France.
Interestingly, the recent incidents of Gau Rakshaks of India are also presented in the report. It has highlighted the increasing attack against individuals from minority groups by cow-protection activists.
In Bangladesh especially, there has been a sharp increase in the attacks against Hindus who constitute the religious minority of the country. This can be attributed to the presence of terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
The IRFR also reports an incident from October in Bangladesh. Over a Facebook post that some may find offensive to Islam, more than 50 Hindu families and over 15 Hindu temples were ruined by hundreds of villagers. This attack claimed the lives of 25 people.
The report has also recognized Pakistan government’s inability to help safeguard the rights of religious minorities, particularly Hindus. But a larger problem that exists in Pakistan is the forced conversions of Hindus and Christians.
There have also been offenses against the Sikh community present in France and Denmark. In France, Turbans are banned in schools, offices, and other public spaces. In Denmark, court judges are prohibited from wearing the turbans. These bans include the religious symbols as well as crucifixes.
In England and Wales, 1,055 crimes against other religions such as Hindus, Sikhs, and few Christians were recorded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the US government report.
From April-November 2016, eight Hindu temples were vandalized in Malaysia. Hindu leaders of the country have alleged that the police is ignorant of the problems.
Zakir Naik, controversial figure in India, was warmly received by the Malaysian government as Hindus protested his speaking tour. Zakir Naik’s speech is always intended to insult Hindus and promote extremism. Bangladesh, on the other hand, had banned Zakir Naik’s Peace TV Bangla as it was spreading extremist ideologies.
In Fiji, three Hindu temples were desecrated in 2016. In Mauritius, no religious violence took place despite the growing tensions between Hindus and Muslims.
This report by the US Commission has come under heavy fire from the Hindu American Foundation. The leaders of the foundation have asserted that the International Religious Freedom Report was outsourced to writer and activist Dr. Iqtidar Karamat Cheema than being written by the staff of the US commission. The Foundation’s allegations have raised questions about the nature of credibility of the commission.
Furthermore, the Foundation claims that the author has cited “alternative facts.” Also interesting to note is that Dr. Cheema has been honored by several Pakistani government bodies previously who has supported separatist agendas.
– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394