“I write to ask your support in advocating the rescindment of Res 20-712 passed by the City of St. Paul City Council. This resolution was introduced as a part of a coordinated national effort by several organizations that use the cause of religious freedom and social equality to push a dangerous Anti-India agenda which is discouraging United States officials from maintaining important foreign and economic relations with India.
St. Paul is the third city in the United States to have passed this resolution, after Seattle, WA and Cambridge City, MA. The resolution was introduced to Councillor Jane Prince by the Minnesota chapter of the Council for American and Islamic Relations. The St. Paul City Council has been led to believe one-sided reports maligning the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Registry of Citizens. They declared the Indian government as embodiments of “exclusionary ideology” and directly discriminatory towards “Muslims, oppressed castes, women, indigenous peoples known as Adivasi, and the LGBTQ community”.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, which is now settled law in India, outlines a path to citizenship for persecuted Zoroastrians, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and Hindus from religious minority communities in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The statutory process grants an applicant Indian citizenship after 11 years. After CAA, persecuted religious minorities from these three countries who arrived in India before 31 December 2014 (meaning they’ve already been in India for a minimum of 5-6 years), will get citizenship after another five years. The National Registry of Citizens is an attempt to identify the legal citizens of India in a comprehensive way for the first time since 1955. This mimics the Social Security system of the United States as well as the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) system in Pakistan. India has an immense population of an estimated 1.38 billion people and a voting population of 900 million.
Pew Research Center predicts that by 2050, India will have a Muslim population of 311 million, which will make it home to the world’s largest Muslim population. Islam came to India 1300 years ago, and it has been nurtured in India through a number of state policies and schemes. For example, until 2012, Indian Muslims could make a Haj pilgrimage at the government’s expense.
American city council members are largely unfamiliar with the huge complexities within Indian society, and did not adequately research or consider the ramifications of their actions when this resolution was passed. As an Overseas Citizen of India and a naturalized citizen of the United States, I am deeply disturbed by the exportation of divisive Indian political issues to the US. These resolutions are clearly motivated by a deeper political agenda because no other resolutions against religious persecution in neighboring South Asian countries have been passed. While the city of St. Paul defames the Indian government, who was elected by the largest democratically voting body in the world, they have remained silent on persecutions of religious minorities, including different Muslim minorities, in any other nation in the world. This is deeply hypocritical as India is one of the few nations that has remained fully democratic and secular since its independence and has enacted a multitude of policies to accommodate and improve the lives of its minority populations.
I’m angry that my community and heritage is being slandered and called islamophobic, when in fact the Indian government has done exceptional work for its Muslim population. The domestic policy issues of CAA and NRC are for the Indian people and government to implement fairly and non-discriminatorily within their own society, and American city councils have no jurisdiction to pass any judgement on them. In the long term, CAIR and their partners will continue pushing this resolution to more cities across the US, which will further distress Hindu American communities, and incite sharp political division across the US. We are fearful of where this may lead with an already increasing amount of riots due to other political tensions. From there, we know state governments and federal lawmakers will be lobbied by CAIR to end trade relations with India, hurting both Indian and American economies.
This is extremely distressing to those of us from Indian heritage. We request your support at the official level in communicating with these city councils and proceeding with efforts to rescind Resolution 20-712. I am grateful for your time and help in pursuing this issue while it is still at the city council level and in preventing the situation from escalating further. Please see the full text of Res 20-712 attached.”
Resident of St Paul