Saint Paul, Minnesota is home to about 50,000 thriving Indian-Americans, many of whom have lived here peacefully for decades. Many Hindu Americans take pride in calling the beautiful tolerant state of Minnesota their home, with pure joy. The Hindu Temple of Minnesota in Maple Grove has many patrons in the community and is a thriving, flourishing center for nurturing Hinduism, the religion that is followed by 81% of India’s population and by the majority of Indian-Americans in the United States. These Indian-Americans were awakened by a rude shock on May 20, 2020: the Saint Paul City Council approved Resolution 20-712, declaring the government of India “Islamophobic.”
The initiative to do this was led by Saint Paul City Council member Jane Prince, allegedly working with Sadia Tarannum of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) since March 2020. This resolution condemns the new Indian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Some history and background is required to understand this conflict. The Muslims from Arabia and Persia invaded India in the 11th century A.D., and had successfully plundered and destroyed Hindu kingdoms and Hindu temples. The Muslim invaders of India were responsible for the massacre of roughly 100 million Hindus, the largest genocide in human history. From the plundered wealth of India, many Middle Eastern countries were glorified. With the arrival of the British as the East India Company, and the subsequent British rule, the barbaric Muslim rule dissipated; however, the descendants of the Muslims who had ruled India remained in the country, converting many local Hindus by sheer force and sometimes even with torture.
Near the end of freedom struggle against the British rule, the Muslims of India demanded separate countries to accommodate the Muslim population of Indian subcontinent. Hence the land of current Pakistan, including Pakistan, Baluchistan, and Sindh, were taken by Muslims led by the All-India Muslim League and separatist call of Muhamed Ali Jinnah. Likewise, East Pakistan, another Muslim-majority land, was created as a separate country; that is currently known as Bangladesh.
There was a 23% non-Muslim population in Pakistan in 1947; today that percentage has dropped shockingly to a paltry 2%. [Read about it here]. Purposeful attacks targeting this minority population are carried out regularly right under the nose and with the knowledge of the military-backed Pakistan government. Attacks have included bomb blasts targeting Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras. The most recent incident was the attack on a gurdwara attack in the Afghan capital, Kabul, also of course a Muslim-majority country, as a retaliation for one of the 600 remaining members of the Sikh religion deciding to stand in a city election later this year. Afghanistan’s territory also belonged to the greater Indian subcontinent in the past, and hence many non-Muslim minorities still remain there, having so far survived many such attacks.
At the time of partition in 1947, almost 23 percent of Pakistan’s population was comprised of non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately 3 percent. The distinctions among Muslim denominations have also become far more accentuated over the years. Muslim groups such as the Shias who account for approximately 20-25 percent of Pakistan’s Muslim population, Ahmadis who have been declared non-Muslim by the writ of the state, and non-Muslim minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have been the targets of suicide bomb attacks on their neighborhoods, had community members converted to Islam against their will, and had their houses of worship attacked and bombed even while they were inhabited by worshipers. -Farahnaz Ispahani, Former member, Parliament of Pakistan
Other acts of violence against non-Muslim minorities, including Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, and Buddhists in the countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan include the burning down of Hindu homes, the excavation and vandalism of the graveyards of Christians, the burning alive of Hindu children while they sleep, the raping of Hindu women and the kidnapping of young Hindu girls and their forcible conversion to Islam, after which they are “married” for two to three months, and sometimes even later sold as ISIS sex slaves.
Wiki article on Religious Discrimination in Pakistan quotes:
“According to an Open Doors claim in November 2017, Pakistan had the highest number of Christians killed in the world during the 12-month time period of 1 November 2015 to 31 October 2016, with 76 Christians being killed in the country. Pakistan also topped the list of most number of documented church attacks, accounting for 600 of the total 1329 churches attacked worldwide during the same time period.”
The same wiki article further says:
“A survey carried out by All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Pakistan’s revealed that out of 428 Hindu temples in Pakistan only around 20 survive today and they remain neglected by the Evacuee Trust Property Board which controls those while the rest had been converted for other uses.”
Despite these barbaric atrocities against non-Muslim minorities in these countries that are geographically close to India, and knowing well that the non-Muslims suffered so much and for so long, some members of these minorities believed the words of the cunning Muslim leaders who chose to break away from India in 1947 to establish on the Muslim population as a majority in what are today Pakistan and Bangladesh. Little did these naïve and trusting non-Muslims realize the dangerous future they had chosen for themselves and their subsequent generations in 1947.
Experiencing relentless and unspeakable atrocities, the non-Muslim minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh have been entering India over the years as refugees, seeking refuge in India, their homeland. India is the land that welcomes refugees, providing safe harbor to the likes of the Dalai Lama, who was escaping the fury of the Communist Chinese, and the Sri Lankan Tamil population, which was fleeing bloodcurdling terrorism by Sri Lankan organizations.
Pakistan’s borders with India are watched closely; however, the India-Bangladesh border is not. Hence many Hindu families facing the same wrath from the Muslim majority in Bangladesh flee into India; they are happy to live as refugees in India even if they are homeless until the government of India provides methods for their entry into the mainstream society of India.
Given this constant influx of religiously persecuted refugees into India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, mainly consisting of non-Muslim minorities from these countries, India passed an amendment to the Citizenship Act of 1955 laying out the terms to reduce the duration of the stay in India required to gain Indian citizenship after fleeing religious persecution, from eleven years to five years. This was the Citizenship Amendment Act[CAA] of 2019. Refugees who entered India prior to 2014 could also be considered eligible for citizenship.
The Act seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation. They will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. So far 12 years of residence has been the standard eligibility requirement for naturalisation. This is similar to a US permanent resident becoming eligible for US citizenship after five years of residence in the United States after becoming a permanent resident.
The goal of the 2019 CAA was clearly to reduce the burden for non-Muslim minority refugees, Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs already fleeing religious persecution at the hands of the Muslim majorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, and to help them get established safely as Indian citizens.
However, with the passing of the CAA in 2019, few vested Muslim organizations under the influence of the opposition political parties in India began organizing protest groups and rights groups, squatting in key public areas in India’s capital of New Delhi, setting fire to many areas in Delhi, throwing stones at Indian police and asking them to return home, and also attacking Hindu girls and Hindu men in government service, and urging Muslims all over India to protest against the CAA.
Why? Because they twisted the intent of the CAA, claiming it discriminated against the Muslims. They tried every method to convince the population of India, the neighboring countries, and the entire world that the CAA was intended only to target and discriminate against the Muslims. They thereby effectively obscured the real purpose of the CAA, which is to rescue persecuted religious minorities in the three neighboring countries of India. Their argument is that the bill does not include Muslims while it lists every other religion. How could it, when it aims to protect only the non-Muslims from the Muslim-majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan? That would be similar to inviting Hitler and the Nazis from a place where the Nazi population outnumbers the Jewish population and performs atrocities against the Jews to a place offering refuge to the Jews.
In the Indian context, it would amount to inviting the entire populations of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, 98% of which is Muslim, to come live in India. This would enable them to continue to torment the non-Muslims fleeing from their very torture into India. One important thing to note is that even Muslims from these countries are still eligible to apply for Indian citizenship under regular rules. Hundreds of Muslims migrating from these three countries have been granted Indian citizenship during the last few years. If found eligible, all such future migrants shall also get Indian citizenship, irrespective of their numbers or religion.
The protesting and rioting Muslims in India refused to understand this whole need for the CAA and why Muslims were not included in this aspect of becoming a citizen of India. The bill was for those who were fleeing religious persecution by Muslims in other neighboring countries.
The Muslims of India found an able partner to speak for them in international platforms: Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a puppet controlled almost entirely by the radical Islamic military of Pakistan. Imran Khan started screaming about the CAA from the rooftops, first in Pakistan, then to his true partner in crime, China. He rallied many organizations to see the CAA not for what it aims to do, namely, rescue religiously persecuted non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Instead, he craftily presented the CAA to the world as a law that India’s BJP government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, formulated solely to discriminate against the Muslims of India. As he approached world bodies, including the United Nations, China and the European Union, none of the very real and true stories of barbaric activity against non-Muslim minorities in the Muslim-majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan was even mentioned.
Instead, the complaints to the United Nations and international human rights watch groups started only from the point where Muslims are not mentioned in the CAA. This has led to the human rights entity of the United Nations, the European Union and many other concerned organizations questioning India about discriminating against Muslims. Fortunately for India, Narendra Modi’s government was democratically elected by a thumping majority, and has an able team of well-educated, trained, erudite, experienced ministers, governing India and passing the laws rightfully needed. Appropriate and befitting replies were provided to the United Nations in March 2020 by the Ministry of External Affairs, led by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs asserted that the CAA is an internal matter of India and concerns the sovereign right of the Indian Parliament to make laws and that India is clear that the CAA is constitutionally valid and complies with all the requirements of the constitution of the worlds largest democracy.
They also put up all the FAQs to assuage the doubts Indian Muslim citizens might have had and how it does not affect them in any way. [Read it here]
Indian-Americans, becoming aware of matters related to the CAA discussed in India and South Asia, as well as in the United Nations, have been infuriated that the terrorist state of Pakistan, which crushes minority rights as much as it can and has constitutional laws stating Pakistan’s janitors can only be non-Muslims while the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan can only be a Muslim, should even be talking about a compassionate law that the Indian government passed to rescue such crushed minorities from Pakistan back into India’s hold.
Indian-Americans, certainly the patriotic and genuinely concerned ones, were amused and concerned that the Muslims of India would go to the extent of raising complaints against India in the United Nations, despite having very comfortable lives free of discrimination in India. Testimony to this is the fact that the Muslim population of India has increased from single digits around the time of partition to 14% in 2010, and is at 21% currently. Indian Muslims are integrated in India’s fabric as educators, doctors, lawyers, IT experts, supreme court judges, famous movie actors, as well as a former President and former Vice President of India. The Permanent Envoy of India to United Nations is also a Muslim, and retired recently from that post after serving for several years.
The missing link regarding the fury raised against the CAA was the fact that about numerous Muslims have illegally migrated from Bangladesh into India over the last few years. These populations were not fleeing any religious persecution, as they were Muslims themselves and could not be persecuted for their religion in Bangladesh, which is a Muslim-majority country. They declare proudly that they have come for better lives, and also to spread Islam within India. The key backdrop to this is “Ghazwa E Hind,” (Holy war against India) the plan for an Islamic takeover India or the conversion of the entirety of India into a Muslim nation. This has been the goal and fanatic aspiration of many Muslims both within India as well as outside of India, especially in the neighboring countries which were partitioned at the time of India’s independence in 1947.
India is the birthplace of Hinduism, the third-largest religion in the world, with one billion people practicing it. This is a mellow, peaceful, moderate religion which does not have any goal of converting anyone else to the religion, but does not refuse anyone who wants to do so willingly. Despite being of peaceful demeanor, the Hindus are also known for their valor, and have resisted the Muslim invasion of India for 1000 years, all through the biggest genocide known to mankind. After an interruption by the British colonization of the grand plans of Muslims to continue their takeover of India, the Muslims have again resumed working for this hostile takeover and find every way to accuse India falsely. Their complaints are throwing a wrench into efforts to rescue of Hindus from the clutches of Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
This agitation against the CAA is aimed to distract the world from the actual atrocities against Hindus, Christians, and Jains. They know that if they claim discrimination against Muslims, the world is more likely to listen to them; this as a very clever ploy to stop the government of India from rescuing any of the Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities from the suffering that they are enduring at the hands of their Muslim counterparts in these three countries. The Muslims are painting a starkly polarized perspective simply because it suits their goal to capture India against all odds, and to drive out or convert the Hindus in attempting to establish Islam all over India. However, the current Indian government led by the BJP and Modi is resilient and determined to protect and rescue the religiously persecuted Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities in the neighboring three countries.
Having failed in their attempts to tarnish India elsewhere, the voice of Muslims has entered the hallowed hallways of America’s city councils, via organizations such as CAIR-Minnesota. The Indian Muslims have approached the organization to be their mouthpiece. CAIR branches are empowered by left-leaning lawmakers such as the Democratic Representatives Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. They seek to get resolutions passed in city councils by convincing naïve American city council members to support them.
Generally these city council members are completely unaware of the thousand years of Muslim invasion, plundering, and harassment of the Hindus in India, and of the deadly events during the partition of India. They also know nothing about the plight of non-Muslims who unknowingly stayed behind in Muslim countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, unwittingly choosing a truly deadly future for themselves and subsequent generations since 1947. They also are unaware of the larger Islamic plans of taking over India for Islam and converting the rest of India. The members of the city councils of the United States are understandably unaware of the vast and gory history between India and her neighbors, and rightly so. City councils are expected to much involved in the local cities’ day-to-day work, such as Covid-19 health care, sanitation, utilities, crime, homelessness, and the safety of all and peace among all ethnic minorities.
But no, not the city council of Saint Paul, Minnesota, which, like its counterpart, the city council of Seattle, Washington, agreed to pass a resolution to condemn India. This was completely biased and sadly ignorant regarding a complex situation. India’s majority religion, Hinduism, and the Hindus of India were shunned by the Saint Paul City Council, even as it admitted that it worked with CAIR-Minnesota in passing this resolution. The resolution clearly stated that the BJP-led Indian government discriminated against Muslims by passing the CAA. It made no mention of rescuing the non-Muslim minority that is fleeing from barbaric treatment in Muslim-majority countries. City Council member Jane Prince admitted that the council worked with CAIR-MN in March 2020 to design this resolution. Yes, this was during the unleashing of Covid-19 all across the globe, as well as in the state of Minnesota.
It was extremely sad and shocking that Jane Prince right from the beginning tried her best to circumvent any meaningful discussion of this resolution by the very peaceful Indian-American community of Saint Paul. She shamelessly advocated for CAIR as if she were its spokesperson. She went to the extent of stating that such symbolic resolutions do not need any public comment, which itself is an oxymoron of sorts, as clearly she was working at the behest of a special interest group, CAIR.
Following the May 8 postponement of the final resolution to May 20, 2020, a 27-member group of Indian-American community leaders of Saint Paul led by Mr. Sunil Puri, and a reluctant Indian Association of Minnesota met with Jane Prince. However, the Indian Association of Minnesota was not very involved in the proceedings subsequently, for reasons best known to them. The Indian-American community of Saint Paul was left to itself to determine how to face this resolution. By then, the Indian-American population from across the United States had grouped with local Indian-Americans from Saint Paul to plan on how to deal with this assault on India’s dignity on American soil.
After much pressure, another virtual meeting with one community member, Mr. Vikas Agarwal, was granted by Jane Prince, after she made a hurried 30-minute perusal of a detailed explanation on the CAA law, as she herself stated. This did not produce any change in her perspective, either. Another Indian-American, Mr. Sudheer, sought the help of Hmong community leaders to approach Jane Prince. But despite explanation, clarification, fervent appeals from community leaders, and a PowerPoint presentation of what the law entails and how it only seeks to rescue persecuted non-Muslim minorities from India’s neighboring countries, Prince did not budge an inch.
Members of the Indian American community, braving the risk of Covid-19 and wearing masks and practicing social distancing, held placards asking the Saint Paul City Council to drop the resolution condemning India and its compassionate law.
Yet despite all this, the resolution was passed 5-2. This resolution condemned India for discrimination, upholding all the lies that CAIR had carefully fed to Saint Paul City Council members. Two members abstained from the vote; the president of the city council was one of those who abstained from voting.
By passing this resolution, the Saint Paul City Council demonstrated:
1. Complete insensitivity to the 12,000+ emails sent by concerned Indian-Americans pleading with Saint Paul City Council to stop the resolution that falsely accused India of discrimination.
2. Blatant prejudice and discrimination against India, as well as against Indian-Americans, and against Hindus, who make up 81% of Indian-Americans, because this resolution in essence refuses to acknowledge the torture suffered by Hindus at the hands of Muslims up to today in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The Saint Paul City Council, whose focus should be to ensure its citizens from all over the world live together in America in peace as American citizens lawfully, has instead sown the seeds of hatred, divisiveness, and authoritarian Hinduphobia on American soil by passing such a resolution regarding the CAA, without expert opinions, analysis, or due discussion, and without consulting the Indian consulate in the United States, ignoring the multitudes of attempts by senior members of Saint Paul’s peace-loving Indian-American community. The Saint Paul City Council is setting the stage for the bullying of Hindu Americans and Indian-Americans of the next generation, including school and university students in the United States.
Is this what we expect from an American city council?
The Saint Paul City Council’s allegiance to CAIR-MN is even more concerning. The council made this allegiance clear by taking the side of only the Muslim population and by reading a letter written by a Muslim doctor but making no attempt to read any of the 12,000+ emails, letters, and public comments by Indian-Americans, both from Saint Paul as well as from all over the United States in support of the compassionate CAA law, and explaining all aspects of the law.
This makes a mockery of the tenets of US law directing that there be no discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, or country of origin. And this was all done at the expense of US taxpayers, against a strong peaceful ally of the United States namely India. It also casts a slur on the dignity of law-abiding taxpaying Hindu Americans.
Jane Prince and the Saint Paul City Council have in effect presented a resolution that stems from a racist, colonial mindset, blaming a vibrant peace-loving 1.3 billion-strong Indian population and the Indian diaspora of crimes it did not commit, and paying scant respect to the plight of non-Muslim minorities rescued by the CAA. Their conduct did not reflect respect for the freedom of expression or political transparency, and certainly did not uphold the American values of protecting and rescuing the oppressed, even though they may be in far-off Pakistan, where Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities are barbarically tortured.
About 50,000 Indian-Americans add value to the fabric of Saint Paul, Minnesota, in the sectors of healthcare, biotech, IT entrepreneurship, tourism, education, food service, and retail. Indian businesses contribute to a robust healthy economy in Saint Paul.
Per a study of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Minnesota has attracted more than $1.8 billion, creating 2500 jobs, as a direct investment of India-based companies. Minnesota ranks third among American states in India’s investment dollars. Tata consultancy services, Infosys, Wipro, ITC, Infotech, and some of the other well-known IT and telecom companies, along with SR and Cargil and 3M have invested significantly in India in the last 30 years.
It is a matter of shame that an American city council would pass this resolution against a key US ally. Even more concerning is that the Saint Paul City Council would pass a resolution based on the recommendations of CAIR-MN without any heed to the security risks this may pose for both the city of Saint Paul and for the United States in general. CAIR has been linked to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Jamaat e Islami. It was not surprising that this resolution was reported by many watchdogs that are closely observing the activities of CAIR in the United States.
In sum, the Saint Paul City Council’s 20-712 resolution is shocking on many levels, including the condemnation of the US’s close ally India, the upholding of false allegations by CAIR-MN, and the absolute lack of sensitivity to the Indian-Americans of Saint Paul, as well as the lack of any empathy to compassionate CAA law that seeks to rescue religiously persecuted minorities who are suffering untold torture in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
But the icing on this cake of reckless behavior by the Saint Paul City Council is its willingness to collude with CAIR-MN, completely disregarding local and national security.
God bless America!
Disclaimer: This is an opinion voiced based on observations and fact-finding of a few concerned citizens. If you have an alternative view and like to counter we will be happy to publish.