CAIR-NJ Welcomes Rep. Watson Coleman’s Principled Boycott of Prime Minister Modi’s Address to Congress      

(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 6/26/2023) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s (D-NJ) principled boycott of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to Congress.

In a statement, Rep. Watson Coleman wrote: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has repressed religious minorities, emboldened Hindu nationalist groups, and coincided with democratic backsliding including silencing dissenting voices and independent journalists. I will not be attending PM Modi’s address tomorrow.”

SEE: “I will not be attending PM Modi’s address”

The Congresswoman’s statement comes just days after CAIR-NJ and other CAIR chapters across the U.S. spent two days on Capitol Hill meeting with state representatives and drawing their attention to issues that impact American Muslims, such as the illegal watchlist and the rising tide of Hindutva movements in India and the U.S.

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, said:

“Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman stood on the right side of history when she declined to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to Congress.

“India’s human rights record has drastically worsened under Modi’s leadership. Muslim homes and places of worship are regularly bulldozed. Christians’ and other religious minorities are also targeted with hatred and discrimination. In some states, Muslim women who wear hijab are barred from public education.  

“And what’s particularly worrying is that the Hindutva movement is gradually making its way transnationally. We’ve documented several anti-Muslim incidents right here in New Jersey that were inspired by the Hindutva movement in India. It’s imperative that New Jersey lawmakers make clear where they stand, and that they amplify our calls to the Biden administration that Prime Minister Modi is not welcome in the U.S.”

CAIR welcomed pledges by members of Congress to boycott the Joint Meeting of Congress honoring India’s far-right, anti-Muslim Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In total, eight members of Congress announced a boycott of Modi’s speech:

  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)
  • Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO)
  • Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA)
  • Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD)
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortex (D-NY)
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.



CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed,, 551-221-5592