Hindu American Foundation Expresses Support of US Religious Freedoms Report

May 16, 2006

Source: Hindu American Foundation


On May 16, 2006 Hindu American Foundation reported, "The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) expressed support over portions of the annual report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on May 3, 2006. The report, which aims to draw the U.S. government's attention to countries with systematic violations of religious freedom, continues to designate Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). Both Bangladesh and Afghanistan were placed on the Commission's 'Watch List' this year, indicating that they are at risk for placement on the CPC list. These recommendations were forwarded to the US State Department for evaluation and further action. HAF welcomed the report's highlighting of religious violations that Hindus and other minorities continue to face in many countries designated as CPC's. HAF's own upcoming annual survey of Hindu human rights will expand upon the abuses and atrocities in these countries. 'We are pleased that the USCIRF is bringing the suffering of Hindus to the attention of the US government,' said Prof. Ramesh Rao, member of the HAF Executive Council. 'Hindus face a host of discriminatory laws in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and are continually victimized by Pakistani-supported terrorists in India's state of Jammu and Kashmir.' HAF commended the Commission's strong disapproval of violations against minorities in Pakistan. The USCIRF reported on the continuous ideological training of madrassas, Hudood Ordinances that exacts harsh punishments for women and non-Muslims, and false blasphemy allegations against Hindus. Still, HAF members were disappointed that the Commission's report overlooked the sharp increase in reports of kidnappings of Hindu girls who are subsequently forced to marry Muslim men and convert to Islam... With almost 500 attacks against Bangladesh's Hindus documented in HAF's forthcoming report, the foundation strongly believed that Bangladesh should have been included as a CPC. The Commission, which traveled to Bangladesh in March of 2006, was concerned by an increase of religious extremism fueling attacks against minorities, particularly Ahmadis, Hindus, and Christians."