Background: A public school in MD is hosting a celebration of the Ram Temple in…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 18, 2023
A Coalition of Rights Organizations Sends A Letter to Montgomery County Council Expressing Concern Over VHP-America Event at Local School
(Gaithersburg, Md.) A coalition of human rights, interfaith and advocacy organizations, led by Justice For All, has sent a letter to the Montgomery County Council expressing deep concerns over the use of a local public school in Gaithersburg by VHP-America for an event celebrating the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The signatories include:
– Justice For All
– Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)
– International Society of Peace and Justice
– Council on Minority Rights in India (CMRI)
– Hindus For Human Rights
– CAIR Maryland
– Coalition for Democracy and Secularism in India
– Justice America
The coalition’s letter outlines the problematic history of the VHP in India, particularly its role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid and its alleged involvement in violence against religious minorities. It questions the appropriateness of allowing such an event in a public school setting, which could potentially endorse or celebrate acts of historical violence and divisiveness.
Zahir Adil, lead of the Save India From Fascism campaign at Justice For All, said “What was begun in 1992 with the mobilization of Hindu religious zealots in destroying the Babri Mosque, was taken through 32 years of marginalization of Muslims and a refusal by the Hindu extremist leaders to come to a solution which would maintain communal harmony. This is deliberate. That hate is now being imported here to the United States by the same zealots in the guise of a celebration of a temple built where the mosque stood. Public facilities must not support this.”
Sunita Viswanath, Executive Director and co-Founder of Hindus for Human Rights said, “Politicizing the Ayodhya site for electoral gain fractures the communal harmony that Hinduism espouses. This consecration is not about faith; it is about power and the dangerous precedent it sets for exploiting religion as a tool of nationalism.”
Zainab Chaudry, Maryland Director at CAIR, remarked, “Organizations that have a long and documented history of fueling hatred and intolerance against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and other minority communities should not be given platforms in our public schools for a celebration that has inflicted extensive pain and injustices against these communities. VHP played a key role in the demolition of Babri Masjid twenty years ago in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh and has long been accused of orchestrating deadly violence against religious minorities. This group does not reflect the values of mutual respect, tolerance, and inclusion towards one another that we seek to be reflected in Montgomery County.”
Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of IAMC, stated, “The truth about the Ram Temple is hiding in plain sight. It is being built on a lie that is acknowledged even by the Supreme Court of India: that there is no evidence a temple was demolished to build a mosque on top of it centuries ago. On the other hand, it is an established fact that the mosque was razed illegally and criminally by a violent mob in 1992. The Ram Temple does not liberate the Hindu community. It burdens them with a majoritarian crime and history will see this act in exactly this light.”
The coalition urges the County Council to review the decision to allow this event at a public school and to consider the impact it may have on the community’s values of diversity and inclusivity. They stress the importance of ensuring that public spaces, especially schools, remain areas where cultural sensitivity and historical accuracy are paramount.
The coalition remains open for dialogue and is committed to working towards solutions that uphold the values of peace, understanding, and mutual respect in Montgomery County and beyond.
Justice For All
The letter sent to the county can be read at https://www.justiceforall.org/saveindia/letter-to-montgomery-county-md-regarding-celebration-of-hate-in-public-school/