CAIR slams hate symbols at India parade in New Jersey

NEW YORK, Aug 17 (APP): The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent Washington-based Muslim advocacy group, Wednesday joined Indian-American Muslim Council (IAMC) in condemning the use of a bulldozer at the India Independence Day parade in South Plainfield in the U.S. state of New Jersey, this year.

The bulldozer, which has become a symbol of Muslim home demolitions in India, was decorated with the images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, both of whom espouse Islamophobic Hindu nationalist ideologies and are leaders of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In June, CAIR called on the international community to act against the bulldozer demolition of Muslim homes by the Indian government.

In a statement, Indian American Muslim Council President Mohammed Jawad said, “We need to contextualize what it means to march with bulldozers emblazoned with the images of two openly Hindu supremacist leaders.

“Today in India, 200 million Muslims are at risk of mass violence from a radicalized majority population. Marching with these bulldozers shows support for forced homelessness and mass violence against a vulnerable minority.”

In a statement, CAIR Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said, “While we support Indian-Americans’ right to celebrate their heritage and independence from British colonial rule, we condemn the use of a bulldozer and the glorification of Hindu nationalist figures who have a deeply anti-Muslim track record.

“We also call on the mayors of Edison and Woodbridge townships (in New Jersey), Sami Joshi and John McCormac respectively, and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who joined the parade, to condemn these acts of hatred and block Hindu nationalists and the BJP’s attempts to interfere in local New Jersey politics.”

Rights groups have been warning about rising anti-Muslim violence in India at the hands of Hindu nationalists, who are enabled by BJP leaders.

In India, the last few weeks have seen an uptick in the demolition of Muslims’ homes in India. Amnesty International dubbed the practice as “bulldozer justice” and has condemned it as openly discriminatory and a violation of international human rights laws.

MaverickTube Entertainment, a YouTube channel with more than 20,000 subscribers, also posted a video allegedly taken at this year’s India Independence Day parade in New Jersey that featured one of the most visible national spokespersons for the BJP, Sambit Patra. Patra has been accused of championing anti-Muslim rhetoric through his platform as a BJP spokesperson.