Coalition Against Genocide – An Introduction

CAG was the brainchild of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC, formerly known as India Muslim Council) and members of the Forum of Inquilabi Leftists (FOIL) and it took birth in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

According to its website, “[CAG] includes a spectrum of organizations and individuals in the United States and Canada that have come together in response to the Gujarat genocide to demand accountability and justice.” [1] It claims that during the 2002 Gujarat Riots, “under Narendra Modi’s leadership, more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed, aided and abetted by the state. In the aftermath, 200,000 people have been rendered homeless and internally displaced.”[2] Along with the above claims, CAG alleges that Mr. Modi’s government not only failed to take actions against the agitators, “but [also] undertook a series of actions which either tacitly or explicitly condoned the genocidal violence, which included torture of children and mass rapes of women.”[3] Finally, along with its main mission of fighting for “accountability and justice for victims of Gujarat Genocide”, the coalition also throws in a conciliatory note stating that it “will work towards safeguarding the pluralist ethos of India and the economic well-being (sic) of the Indian Diaspora in US.”[4]

Interestingly, such a coalition was only formed after the 2002 Gujarat riots when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ascended to power. Gujarat has had a long history of communal riots, many of which took place under the rule of the Congress Party. Yet, CAG and its constituents never formed such a coalition to highlight the communal environment or human rights violations during those riots.  Furthermore, while the coalition claims that it is fighting for the accountability and justice for all victims of the Gujarat Riots, no sincere attempt is made to express sympathy and demand justice for the 59 Hindus roasted alive in the Godhra train nor the three hundred plus Hindus killed during the Gujarat Riots.

Section 1.01    Some Activities of the CAG

In 2005, the coalition was successful in lobbying the US government against the granting of US visa to Mr. Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat. Though Mr. Modi’s involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots has never been established and he has in fact been cleared of such charges by various independent investigations as well as the Supreme Court of India, the coalition members had already implicated Mr. Modi right at the onset of the riots. The US State Department buckled under intense lobbying by IAMC and the coalition members and refused Mr. Modi a visa. From 2005 till date, CAG has continued to lobby the US government through various political and human rights channels to ensure that there is a complete disregard for India’s own judicial system and legislative process that has cleared Mr. Modi of these allegations.

The vitriolic agenda and exaggerated lies floated by CAG and its members are clearly evident in a 2008 letter written by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) to the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, where Ms McCollum states the following:

Since 2005, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has continued to violate the religious freedoms of not only Indian Muslims, but also Christians. Mr. Modi has used state police forces to routinely beat Christian pastors and priests and to conduct extra-judicial killings of Muslim youth. In addition, Mr. Modi has interfered with the safe return of more than 100,000 people displaced from 2002 riots [emphasis added].[5]

The above statement is testament to the types of hyperbolic conclusions and statements that CAG and its members feed lawmakers in the US and other parts of the world. This website highlights several instances of such statements made by US lawmakers as well as testimonials provided by CAG and its members.

In September 2013, over 30 organizations from the Hindu community co-sponsored an event titled “World without Borders” in the Chicago metropolitan area to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. A wide range of organizations from Hindu temples to Yoga Centers, Hindi Lovers Club, American Telugu Association and senior citizen centers to international Hindu organizations such as the Art of Living, Yogi Divine Society, Parmarthniketan and All World Gayatri Pariwar joined the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America in co-hosting a unique blend of spiritual, social and cultural events commemorating the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.[6]  In addition, the event featured many prominent speakers, including, but not limited to Baba Ramdev, HH Chidanand Saraswati, Sadhvi Bhagwati, Rajiv Malhotra, Jeffrey Armstrong, etc. While the event featured Subramanian Swamy as a keynote speaker for the Banquet, the event featured a myriad speakers and luminaries from different walks of life.

The organizers invited the Council for a Parliament of World Religions (CPWR) to be a co-host of the event. Initially, CPWR accepted the invitation and had joined the Hindu community to acknowledge Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to the first Parliament of World Religions and his legacy in America. However, faced with intense pressure and lobbying from CAG, the CPWR withdrew from the event, stating that the event involved a few controversial organizations and individuals. That the event featured a wide range of speakers and was co-hosted by some of the world’s leading spiritual organizations did not matter to CPWR. Nor did it matter that thousands of Hindu community members were to attend this event to learn from luminaries about Swami Vivekananda’s message for Hindus and for the world.

CAG used its connections with certain CPWR board members to torpedo the Hindu community’s efforts to include a non-Hindu organization that was profoundly inspired by Swami Vivekananda. For example, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, the current Chair of the Board of Trustees of CPWR,[7] is a founder of Muslim Peace Coalition USA (MPC USA).[8] Shaik Ubaid, the founding member of CAG and IAMC, is also the New York State Co-Chair of MPC USA.[9] MPC USA works closely with CAG to lobby the US government to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi.[10]  Mujahid was also the former President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)[11], while Ubaid was the General Secretary of ICNA.  ICNA’s Jihadist support is discussed under Ubaid and IAMC here.  Interestingly, CPWR does not mention Mujahid’s ICNA background in his bio.

Thus, CAG blackballed the entire Hindu community as “Hindu extremists” and ensured that Hindus do not get support from prominent non-Hindu organizations.

Section 1.02    100,000 = 200,000

While this website and the associated report goes into exhaustive details of the individual CAG member groups, it is important to briefly illustrate how CAG deceives the regulators, media and the general public by reporting false numbers.

For example, the “About the Coalition Against Genocide” section on CAG’s website describes CAG’s birth around the 2002 Gujarat Riots. In the introduction, CAG declares, “In the aftermath [of the riots], 200,000 [emphasis added] people have been rendered homeless and internally displaced.”[12]  However, this number changes dramatically in CAG’s March 1, 2012 Press release regarding a candlelight vigil held in New York on the 10th anniversary of the Gujarat Riots.  Citing widescale atrocities against Muslims during the riots, CAG states, “Over 100,000 [emphasis added] Muslims were displaced from their homes as a result of this pogrom.”[13]  Similarly, in 2005, Angana Chatterji, one of the key figures in the CAG, wrote an article in Asian Age boasting how CAG made the US deny visa to Narendra Modi. Speaking about the Gujarat riots, Chatterji states: “In 16 of Gujarat’s 24 districts, 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed, 200,000 [emphasis added] were internally displaced.”[14]  However, in a 2012 Press release, CAG claimed, “Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 when organized sectarian violence resulted in the killing of 2,000 people and the displacement of over 150,000 [emphasis added].”[15]

Such flim-flam is evident across multiple press releases and statements by CAG and its members.  In addition, CAG also exaggerates the number of Muslims killed in the riots.  As seen above, CAG claims that “2000 people, mostly Muslims” were killed in the riots, while other sources point out numbers closer to 1000, which includes 254 Hindus.[16]

Section 1.03    Organizations in the CAG[17]

The list below is retrieved from CAG’s website and contains names of organizations that make up the CAG. The report as well as this website does not focus on the “Supporting Organizations” and instead analyzes only the organizations that make up the core of CAG.  Click on each link below to learn more about each group or organization.

 

[1] http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/about.php.  Accessed January 1, 2014

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[6] See the full list of co-hosting organizations at http://www.sv150chicago.com/events.html. Accessed January 31, 2014

[7] See the announcement of Imam Mujahid’s appointment as Chair on CPWR’s website at http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/news/index.php/2010/01/imam-abdul-malik-mujahid-begins-term-as-chair-of-board-of-trustees/.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[8] Imam Mujahid is mentioned as the founder of Muslim Peace Coalition USA in the following Press release on the 2013 Boston Bombings: http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/americans-respond-to-boston-marathon-bombings.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[9] See the following Press Release discussing Muslim Peace Coalition USA’s involvement in urging the US government to deny visa to Narendra Modi.  http://www.siasat.com/english/news/muslim-peace-coalition-usa-fight-against-modi-entry.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[10] Ibid.  Also, also see the following Press release by the CAG on the 10th Anniversary of the Gujarat Riots http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/press/cag.letter.01mar2012.php. Accessed February 2, 2014

[11] See the following Press Release from the 1996 Convention of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).  Mujahid was a speaker at the convention as was introduced as the President of ICNA.  http://www.wrmea.org/1996-october/annual-isna-convention-draws-more-than-12000-north-american-muslims.html.  Similarly, an Internet Archive capture of December 1996 shows the same addresses for ICNA and Sound Vision, another organization started by Mujahid – https://web.archive.org/web/19970227060603/http://icna.org/contact.html.  Sound Vision is also the Multimedia Division of ICNA, per the December 2, 1998 Internet Archive capture – https://web.archive.org/web/19981202211241/http://www.icna.com/main.shtml.  Accessed September 22, 2014

[12] http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/about.php.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[13] See the following Press release by the CAG on the 10th anniversary of the Gujarat Riots http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/press/cag.letter.01mar2012.php.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[14] Angana Chatterji, “How we made US deny visa to Modi”, March 21, 2005, Asian Age, retrieved from CAG’s website at http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/news/2005/mar/21.aa.modi.php.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[15] See the December 3, 2012 CAG Press release announcing a Press Conference to garner bi-partisan support to continue the denial of visa to Narendra Modi at http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/press/cag.pr.03dec2012.php.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[16] According to the official government numbers reported by BBC News in the following May 11, 2005 article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4536199.stm.  Accessed February 2, 2014

[17] http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/about.php.  Accessed January 30, 2014