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Letter to Montgomery County MD regarding celebration of hate in public school

Jan 18, 2024

To: The Honorable Members of the Montgomery County Council

Subject: Urgent Concerns Over VHP-America’s Event at a Local Public School


Dear Council Members,

I am writing to you on behalf of the organizations listed below, a coalition committed to promoting freedom of religious practice for all. We are also committed to stand against hate in all of its forms and against any community. We wish to express our deep concern regarding an upcoming event hosted by VHP-America at a local public high school in Montgomery county.

This event, advertised as a celebration of the construction of a temple in India, is intended to celebrate the coordinated destruction of a 500 year old mosque and the construction of a temple on its site. Leaders of the mob that demolished the standing mosque, insisted it was built at the very spot that the mythological Hindu god, Rama was born.This is disputed by Hindus in Nepal and other parts of the world as they lay claim to this honor.

We recognize the importance of freedom of speech and assembly, but are deeply troubled by the nature of this event, especially considering VHP’s documented history of violence and intolerance in India towards Muslims & Christians. Such actions, widely reported and condemned, include mob violence against these communities and acts that undermine the principles of religious freedom and human rights.

The use of a public school as a venue for this event is particularly concerning. Schools are pillars of our community that should symbolize inclusivity, learning, and mutual respect. Hosting an event that potentially glorifies religious conflict, and is associated with a group known for its divisive and violent actions abroad seems incongruent with these values.

We urge the County Council to consider the following:

  1. Is it appropriate for public school facilities to be used for events that could be perceived as celebrating religious conflict and violence?
  2. How does hosting such an event align with the values of inclusivity, diversity, and mutual respect that Montgomery County espouses?
  3. What message does the sanctioning of this event send to our diverse community, particularly to those who belong to the religious groups that have been historically marginalized and targeted by the VHP?

In light of these concerns, we request an immediate review of the decision to allow this event to take place on public school property. We believe that allowing this event to proceed contradicts the principles of community harmony and mutual respect that our county upholds.

Our coalition is willing to engage in a dialogue and provide further information on this matter. We hope to work together with the County Council to ensure that our public spaces, especially schools, remain safe and respectful environments for all members of our community.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this pressing issue. We look forward to a constructive response and the opportunity to collaborate on maintaining the integrity and inclusiveness of our public institutions.


Justice For All

Indian American Muslim Council

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


  1. Violence Against Christians: There has been a notable increase in violence against Christians in India, particularly after 2014. Reports indicate a significant rise in incidents, including attacks on churches and worshippers, particularly on significant days of worship like Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Christmas, and Easter. The Evangelical Fellowship of India reported a sharp increase in such attacks, with a direct correlation observed between the rise in BJP’s power in a state and the increase in attacks against Christians. Since 1999, Human Rights Watch has been warning about the nefarious activities of the VHP.
  2. Role of VHPA in Babri Masjid Demolition: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) has been linked to the violent Hindu nationalist movement in India, which led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. This event was a significant one in the history of religious freedom in India. VHPA’s then-President justified the demolition in a speech, and the group has been involved in platforming Hindu militant leaders who promote Islamophobia and support violence against Muslims and Christians.
  3. Gujarat Pogrom of 2002: VHPA leaders have made statements following the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, which indicate support for the violence that occurred. The pogrom was a significant event involving communal violence in which many Muslims were targeted. VHPA’s response to a documentary on this incident further highlights their stance on such issues.

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