CAIR-NJ and IAMC Condemn Symbols of Hate at India Independence Day Parade in Edison
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today joined Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) in condemning the use of a bulldozer at the India Independence Day parade 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 Provincial Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, both of whom espouse Islamophobic Hindu nationalist ideologies and serve as active leaders of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In June, CAIR’s national office 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-NJ 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, Sam Joshi and John E. McCormac respectively, and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin 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 warned of rising anti-Muslim violence in India at the hands of Hindu nationalists, who are enabled by BJP leaders.
In what many say is a retaliatory response to Muslims protesting top BJP members’ anti-Muslim remarks, the last few weeks have seen an upward tick 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.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, 908-267-3119, firstname.lastname@example.org