The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India (SGI) *, a broad coalition of Indian Americans and US based civil rights organizations and activists, condemns the efforts of a Hindu Nationalist Organization called the American India Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) to display images of the Hindu deity Ram and 3-D images of the upcoming Ram temple at Times Square in New York on August 5th. The temple is being built on the site where Hindu extremist mobs destroyed the historic #BabriMasjid in December 1992, sparking large-scale violence and bloodshed across India.
** Hindu extremist forces (a.k.a Hindutva) in India are the equivalent of Ku Klux Klan in the United States.
The Hindutva ideology, that was the genesis of the campaign to destroy the Babri Mosque and construct a Ram temple in its place, has claimed thousands of lives in India, and continues to be the driving force behind attacks on minorities and their places of worship in India. The current Hindu nationalist prime minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, came to power riding on the hatred and Islamophobia that was perpetrated for decades to demolish the mosque. The salutation “Jai Shri Ram” (Victory to Lord Ram) has been weaponized by the Hindu nationalists and Muslims and Christians have been lynched while being forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram.”
The coalition partners had appealed to officials from several billboard advertising firms at Times Square in New York City as well as city officials and the Mayor of New York to disallow the planned celebration by Hindu nationalists in the US, because not only it is an affront to American values but it also glorifies violence, hatred, and legitimizes a violent Hindu-supremacist agenda in India on American soil.
The coalition will hold a protest on August 5, 2020 at 6:30 PM at Times Square in New York City that is intended to register the opposition by people of conscience of the vile spectacle of fascism represented by the hateful Hindu extremist sponsored billboards.
- What:: Protest the Unholy Display of Religious Bigotry and Fascism by Hindu Nationalists in America
- When: Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 (6:30 PM to 9:00 PM)
- Where: Times Square in New York City (Near Nasdaq 43rd and 44th St.)
1. STOP this blatant display of religious bigotry and hatred. The billboards are an affront to our cherished values of religious freedom and respect for human rights, as they will showcase the “success” of this violent campaign and that has been responsible for untold human suffering.
2. TAKE A STAND for the values we all believe in — justice for all, human rights, freedom of speech and thought and belief. The planned advertisements in Times Square that celebrate the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya are effectively a celebration of the destruction of the Babri Mosque on whose ruins the temple is going to be built.
3. APPEAL to all concerned to affirm New York City as a city that is inclusive, democratic and just. Freedom of speech cannot be used to glorify religious persecution and hate. Deny the right to project these images of the Ayodhya celebrations in Times Square on August 5th.
* Coalition Partners: The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India includes dozens of organizations, including Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Soceity of North America (ISNA), Coalition Against Fascism in India, Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), Boston Coalition, Organization for Minorities in India (OFMI), South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA) Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC) and Council for Minority Rights in India (CMRI).