Modi's Popularity: 69% of Hindu Americans Support Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister

The 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS) results confirm the anecdotal evidence of India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's massive popularity among Hindu Americans. The findings of a survey sponsored by Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment For International Peace reveal that 69% of Hindu Americans approve of Mr. Modi's performance. 70% of Hindu Americans agree or strongly agree that white supremacy is a threat to minorities in the United States, compared to 79% of non-Hindu Indian American. Regarding Hindu majoritarianism in India, however, the data point to a much sharper divide: only 40% of Hindus agree that Hindu majoritarianism is a threat to minorities, compared to 67% of non-Hindus, according to the 2020 IAAS Survey. 

69% of Hindu Americans Support Modi. Source: Indian American Attitu...

The 7 in 10 approval rating of Mr. Modi by Hindu Indian Americans stands in sharp contrast to that of barely one in five Muslim Indian Americans. Indian American Christians are almost evenly divided: 35 percent disapprove, 34 percent approve, and 30 percent did not express an opinion. Twenty-three percent of respondents without a religious affiliation and 38 percent from other faiths approve of Modi’s performance, respectively. The share of “don’t knows” is the smallest for Hindus and Muslims compared to other religious categories, suggesting that views among respondents of these two faiths are the most consolidated.

Global Hindutva Sangh Parivar. Source: Audrey Truschke

The IASS survey sample includes 54 percent Hindus, 13 percent Muslims, 10 percent Christians, 8 percent belonging to other faiths, and 16 percent do not identify with any religion.

Indian Hindu Nationalists in America are well organized. Organizations like Hindu America Foundation (HAF), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) and Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) provide funding to congressional candidates who support their ideology and policies. Any Indian American who dares to challenge them faces their wrath, as Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna learned in recent elections. 
Khanna had angered Modi's Hindu American supporters by joining US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejecting Hindutva. Democrats like Khanna from the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda to target minorities. However, vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his extended lock-down and brutal actions in Kashmir. Khanna won by a wide margin in spite of Silicon Valley's Hindu Americans's fierce opposition. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 30, 2022 at 6:59pm

India’s government is exporting its #Hindu nationalism. Example: #Leicester in #UK. #Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion. #Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts. Authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in #Delhi & #BJP ruled states. #Hindutva https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/09/29/indias-government-is-expo...

The violence that erupted two weeks ago between Muslims and Hindus in the English city of Leicester, home to a large population of Britons with South Asian ancestry, appears at last to be dying down as police flood the streets. It began with brawls and quickly escalated into attacks on mosques and temples.

Events in faraway Leicester bear on Banyan’s Asian preoccupations, largely because of the reaction of the government of India. Its high commission in London condemned the “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of [the] Hindu religion”, but, pointedly, did not condemn Hindus’ violence against Muslims.

Admittedly, Pakistan decried a “systematic campaign” of violence and intimidation against Muslims. But then Pakistan, a state founded on putting Islam (and by extension communalism) at its core, would look after its own, wouldn’t it? The Indian state, by contrast, long sought to represent a secular ideal that rose above communal divisions.

That ideal also informed the internationalist, inclusionary rhetoric of India’s foreign policy. The notable omissions in the Indian High Commission’s statement are indicative of a break in policy since the rise to power in 2014 of Narendra Modi, the prime minister. He is cheerleader-in-chief for Hindutva, a strident form of Hindu nativism promoted by his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp).

The Indian government’s response was notable in another respect. Most of Leicester’s South Asian Muslims have their ancestral roots not in Pakistan but, like its Hindus, within the borders of India itself. Mukul Kesavan, an Indian writer, writes that to identify only with its Hindus “is to withdraw...the ancestral claim to India from the Muslims of Leicester.”

This is all of a piece with the bjp’s majoritarian approach at home, where Hindus constitute four-fifths of the country’s 1.4bn people and Muslims about one-seventh. Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts (though Mr Modi usually carries a dog whistle). When Hindus and Muslims have clashed in Delhi or in bjp-ruled states, authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in retribution. Mr Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 grants Indian citizenship to refugees from neighbouring countries—so long as they are not Muslim.

As Mr Kesavan argues, standing up for Hindus abroad bolsters Mr Modi’s standing among Hindus at home. Mr Modi has long understood this aspect of personal power. Before the pandemic he staged huge rallies for the Indian diaspora in America and Britain. On visits abroad he pointedly combines diplomacy with prayer. Mr Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion.


In the American capital this week the foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, lambasted those supposedly spreading false views of India, such as the Washington Post. He defended the government’s suspension of the rule of law and the internet in majority-Muslim Kashmir as motivated only by pure intentions. The minister is representative of Hindutva at the heart of the foreign-policy establishment. A paper in International Affairs, an academic journal, by Kira Huju of Oxford University describes how Indian diplomats hewing to the secular, internationalist line have been squeezed out, silenced or marginalised in favour of hardline hacks. Not only that, diplomats abroad must now promote a Hindu-inflected alternative medicine known as Ayurveda, as well as take instruction in the promotion and practice of yoga.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 30, 2022 at 10:25pm

US academic conference on ‘Hindutva’ targeted by Hindu groups
‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ organisers and speakers face harassment and intimidation by Hindu right-wing groups in the US and India.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/7/us-academic-conference-dism...

For the first time in the United States, scholars and academics from various American and international universities have come together to organise a major online conference on Hindutva.

Cosponsored by departments and centres of more than 53 universities, most of them from the US, including Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton, the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference will discuss various issues relating to the Hindu supremacist ideology in India and elsewhere.

Hindutva refers to a century-old right-wing movement that aims to create an ethnic Hindu state out of a multicultural India, home to more than 200 million Muslims.

The three-day conference, starting on September 10, will host various panels on global Hindutva, caste oppression, Islamophobia, and the persecution of minorities in India, featuring more than 25 academicians, activists, and journalists as speakers.

Over the past three weeks, the organisers and speakers of the conference have been on a receiving end of harassment and intimidation by various Hindu right-wing groups and individuals staunchly opposing the conference, calling it a “Hinduphobic gathering”.

The organisers insist the conference only aims to discuss the global implications of Hindutva and develop resources for an anti-Hindutva pedagogy in the academy.


‘Textbook Hindutva approach’
Since the day Meena Kandasamy’s name was released by the conference organisers as one of the speakers, she has been incessantly harassed and abused online.

A poet and caste activist, Kandasamy told Al Jazeera that a poem she wrote 10 years ago was picked up by Hindu groups, alleging it was offensive and ridiculed Hindu gods.

Kandasamy received multiple emails warning her against participating in the conference. On Twitter and Instagram, the Hindu right targeted her family, her children and even issued death threats.

“This is the textbook Hindutva approach. They just indulge in character assassination, slandering my personal life, questioning the parentage of my children, asking if they were born to one father,” Kandasamy told Al Jazeera.

“The Hindutva groups both in the US and India are miffed at the huge academic support for the conference and they just want to silence us at any cost.”

On September 3, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, a far-right group whose members are accused of assassinating journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in 2017, wrote a letter to India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking action against the India-based speakers of the conference.

Delhi University professor Nandani Sundar, who is also one of the speakers at the conference, received hateful emails and was trolled on Twitter.

“This is what Hindutva groups have been doing in India – shutting down seminars by threatening the organisers, physical disruption etc. Now they are doing the same thing globally,” Sundar told Al Jazeera.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 2, 2022 at 8:14am

Tensions That Roiled English City Have Roots in #India. #LeicesterCity clashes reflect a spread of sometimes violent extremism across the broader Indian #diaspora driven by #Hindutva, the divisive political ideology supported by #Modi & #BJP. #Islamophobia https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/02/world/europe/leicester-violence-...

Experts say it is only the latest example of how the toxic politics that are roiling India — and leading to the persecution of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities — have migrated to other parts of the globe.

Across the Indian diaspora, ugly divisions are emerging. A bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression against India’s Muslim minority, was rolled down a street in a New Jersey town during a parade this summer, offending many people. Last year, attacks on Sikh men in Australia were linked to extremist nationalist ideology. In April, Canadian academics told CBC News that they faced death threats over their criticism of growing Hindu nationalism and violence against minorities in India.

Since India’s independence struggle, Hindu nationalists have espoused a vision that places Hindu culture and religious worship at the center of Indian identity. That view, once fringe, was made mainstream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party came to power.


Human rights observers have since documented a sharp rise in violence against minorities in India, particularly targeting Muslims, but also Christians. Activists and journalists, including many Muslims, have been jailed or threatened with prosecution under an antiterrorism law that has received scrutiny from India’s highest court.


Mr. Modi has largely responded to this violence with silence, which experts say his most extreme supporters interpret as a tacit sign of approval. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent Indian public intellectual, last month wrote that the Leicester episode followed a playbook “familiar for anyone who knows Indian riots: The use of rumors, groups from outside the local community, and marches to create polarization in otherwise peaceful communities.”

The tensions that spilled onto the streets last month have prompted soul searching among the different religious communities in Leicester, a city of about 368,000 in England’s Midlands. Leicester has one of Britain’s highest proportions of South Asians, a vast majority of them people of Indian heritage, who make up some 22.3 percent of the city’s overall population, according to the most recent government statistics.

Leicester is 13 percent Muslim and 12.3 percent Hindu, and most of the people from both religious groups are ethnically Indian.

After British rule ended with the partition of India in 1947, creating a separate state of Pakistan, subsequent legislation allowed citizens from across the Commonwealth to move to Britain. Another wave of South Asians arrived in the 1970s after Uganda’s dictator, Idi Amin, suddenly expelled thousands of people of mostly Indian origin from Uganda. By then, Leicester had gained a reputation as a city that was generally welcoming to immigrants.

“Leicester has always been proud of the fact that we have new people coming from all parts of the world,” said Rita Patel, a local councilor and member of a South Asian women’s collective working toward peacebuilding.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 2, 2022 at 10:58am

The social media company should now focus its attention on user behaviour within three countries in particular, according to a new study, which found the US, the UK, and India contributed a staggering 86 percent of anti-Muslim content on Twitter during a three-year period.

https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/twitter-hate-86-percent-of-anti-mu...

https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2022-08/apo-n...


The study by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) – the apex Muslim body in the Australian state of Victoria which represents an estimated 270,000 community members– found nearly four million anti-Muslim posts made during a 24-month period between 2017 and 2019.

The ICV also flagged a vicious cycle of hatred manifesting in both online and offline attacks on the community globally. Indian users alone generated more than half of these hateful and hurtful posts.

Among India-based Twitter users, researchers blame India’s ruling party – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – for the dissemination and amplification of anti-Muslim hate, saying, “(the) BJP has actively normalised hatred towards Muslims such that 55.12 percent of anti-Muslim hatred tweets now originate in India.”

ICV also pointed to discriminatory laws that deny Muslims citizenship and other civil rights for the rise of anti-Muslim hatred online among Indian Twitter accounts.

In the United States, the proliferation of anti-Muslim hate on Twitter is almost inseparable from the hateful rhetoric and policies of former president Donald Trump, who ranks as the third most frequently mentioned user in anti-Muslim posts, according to the researchers, with many tweets associated with defending his Muslim immigration ban and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including those that posit Democrats as collaborating with “Islamists” to take over the West.

As for the United Kingdom, researchers attributed the prevalence of anti-Muslim tweets to a multitude of factors, including the global reach of Trump’s anti-Muslim animus, anti-immigration sentiments sparked by the refugee crisis, and the discourse surrounding Brexit, along with the casual racism of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once compared niqab-wearing Muslim women to “letter boxes”.

By analysing the anti-Muslim content produced by the three countries, researchers were able to identify several key themes, including the association of Islam with terrorism, the depiction of Muslims as perpetrators of sexual violence, the fear that Muslims wish to impose Sharia on others, the conspiracy that alleges Muslim immigrants are replacing white in the West and Hindus in India, and the characterisation of halal as an inhumane practice that typifies the so-called “barbarity” of Islam.

“Even more concerning, however, is our discovery that only a mere 14.83 percent of anti-Muslim tweets end up being removed,” said the researchers, which is continuing to drive an upward surge in hate crimes against Muslim minority communities, and, in turn, even more, anti-Muslim hate speech online.

The 2019 Christchurch Mosque attack is illustrative of this vicious cycle.

The gunman was radicalised by anti-Muslim online content, and in the week after he murdered 52 Muslim worshippers, incidents of anti-Muslim abuse spiked upwards by a staggering 1300 percent in New Zealand and 600 percent in the UK, which triggered or inspired a wave of anti-Muslim violence in England and Scotland, including an attack on a mosque in Stanwell, and stabbing of a Muslim teenager in Surrey.

A recent report documented over 800 attacks against mosques by right-wing extremists in Germany since 2014.

The past month has seen attacks carried out by right-wing Indian Hindu migrants against Muslim communities in Anaheim in the US and Leicester in the UK.

These attacks not only inflict a major psychological impact on Muslims but also on the broader community. It’s unconscionable that Twitter has done little or nothing to remove the overwhelming majority of anti-Muslim content on its platform.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 3, 2022 at 10:27am

India claims ‘vandalism’ of Toronto park sign is hate crime but police deny any such incident

https://scroll.in/latest/1034162/india-says-vandalism-of-bhagavad-g...

India on Sunday claimed that the sign of Shri Bhagavad Gita Park in Toronto had been vandalised and this constituted a hate crime, even though the local police denied any damage to the property.

“We condemn the hate crime at the Shri Bhagavad Gita Park in Brampton,” the High Commission of India in Ottawa wrote on Twitter. “We urge Canadian authorities and Peel Police to investigate and take prompt action on the perpetrators.”

“Permanent sign is still waiting for the lettering to be applied and it was a temporary park sign used in the park naming ceremony,” they said, “There was no evidence of vandalism to permanent sign or any park structure.”

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who had initially confirmed vandalism, on Monday endorsed a report by the city’s Parks Department. It stated that the builder placed a blank sign as a placeholder until the Shri Bhagavad Gita Park board was installed.

The garden was previously called Troyers Park. It was renamed Shri Bhagavad Gita Park on September 28.

Brown, during the park’s inauguration, had said that the renaming commemorated the contributions of Hindus to Brampton.

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