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Justice For All Statement On RSS’s Bigoted Billboards In Times Square

Justice for All, opposes the American India Public Affairs Committee’s proposed Islamophobic billboard programming in Times Square on August 5. The billboards will display Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the construction of a temple on the site of the now demolished Barbri Mosque. This is a unwelcome celebration of destroying a mosque, a support of Prime Minister Modi’s Hindutva, or Hindu-supremacist, ideology, and a discgraceful celebration of the one year anniversary of the re-occupation of Kashmir by India. Hindutva is a Nazi inspired supremacist ideology. We cannot allow the facism that has taken root in India to be showcased here in the United States, and we should work together against those who wish to import it here.

It is particularly egregious that the American India Public Affairs Committee seeks to bring these images and this ideology to Times Square, which is not only the heart of a diverse and multi-racial New York City, but is also the workplace of thousands of Muslim workers – from food vendors to taxi drivers to investment bankers. The billboards are an affront to what New York City stands for, as well as the democratic and secular ideals that both the United States and India are based on.

In December 1992, Babri mosque was targeted after a political rally organized by Hindu nationalist organizations turned violent. Prime minister Modi, himself, was instrumental in the destruction of the mosque. This was followed by months of communal violence and to the 2002 riots which caused the death of approximately 2000 people, all while security forces stood idly by.

The billboards will celebrate Babri mosque’s illegal demolition as well as the anniversary of entrenched occupation /re- occupation of Kashmir via abrogation of Article 370. Kashmir is an internationally disputed region. On August 5, 2019, Prime Minister Modi’s govt., in an unilateral and unconstitutional move revoked Kashmir’s special semi-autonomous status. Since then Kashmir has been under a military lockdown and communications blackout creating extreme hardships in Kashmiri lives. The self determination of Kashmiris has been eroded.

Justice for All urges advertising companies not to enable this hateful agenda and its blatant disregard of human rights. If the billboards do go ahead, they may create animosity between religious groups in NYC and beyond. Please do not participate in showcasing and spreading hate here at home.

Justice For All is a human rights and advocacy organization focusing on Muslim minorities internationally.

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