Indian Christian Forum (ICF)

Indian Christian Forum (ICF) deems itself to be yet another “…umbrella organization for Indian American Christians in US that promotes human rights and religious freedom in India.”[1] According to a coverage of ICF, the organization was founded by FIACONA member Thomas Oommen[2] “…after the murder of Australian missionary Dr. Graham Staines and his two young sons, Philip and Timothy, in Orissa where they were caring for leprosy patients.” [3] Essentially, ICF was formed to highlight “Hindu savagery” against Christians in India, on the same line as FIACONA and PIFRAS. Indeed, “The Forum, which claims a membership of 5,000 in the tri-state region, was established to create awareness in the United States of persecution against India’s minorities and influence Indian authorities to curtail fundamentalist groups.”[4]

Surprisingly, an organization claiming membership of 5,000 does not have a functioning website. While the current website (www.indianchristianforum.org) does not work and its domain is available for purchase as per WhoIs.Net registration search,[5] a search of the website on the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine demonstrates that ICF is essentially an extension of FIACONA. The last archived snapshot of the website is as of March 4, 2012.[6] Hence, the site has not been working for over two years. The site also shows that ICF follows the same ideology and modus operandi of highlighting the “widespread (persecution of) Christians” in India.

Section 22.01    ICF – An extension of FIACONA’s tentacles

The information below points to the fact that ICF is essentially run by board members of FIACONA. According to the March 4, 2012 archive of the website,[7] Abraham Mammen was the General Coordinator of ICF. Mammen is the current President of FIACONA.[8] Similarly, Oommen was listed as the General Secretary and he is a member of FIACONA; P.V. Varghese was ICF’s Treasurer and also a member of FIACONA.[9] George Abraham was the Public Relations Coordinator of ICF and is a Member at Large of FIACONA.[10] He is also the founding member of the Non-Resident Indians for Secular and Democratic India (NRI-SAHI), another member of CAG, discussed here. Rev. Wilson Jose, Rev. Itty Abraham and V. M. Chacko are listed as Coordinators of ICF but Wilson Jose and Itty Abraham are also Members at Large of FIACONA while Chacko is a Regional Vice President of FIACONA (listed as Varghese Chacko on FIACONA’s website).[11]

This further proves that seven of the 11 officers of ICF are also officers/board members of FIACONA. Hence, ICF is run by the same people that run FIACONA. This is further confirmed by the fact that ICF admits that it is a member of FIACONA![12]

The above information once again undermines CAG’s claims that it is a broad coalition of organizations.  The figure below is a snapshot of ICF’s old website and is meant to illustrate the fact that ICF is essentially run by officers and members of FIACONA.

ICF-FIACONA Connection

[1] See description of ICF in the following news article: “SONAL SHAH’S APPOINTMENT TO OBAMA TEAM EVOKES PROTEST”, NRI TODAY, http://www.nritoday.net/national-affairs/465-sonal-shahs-appointment-to-obama-team-evokes-protest.  Accessed January 17, 2014

[2] See the 2008 FIACONA Press release on the election of Oommen on the new Board: “FIACONA ELECTS A NEW BOARD”, June 21, 2008, http://indianchristians.us/pressdetail.php?id=49. Accessed January 17, 2014

[3] Deena Guzder, “Violence against Indian Christians Raises Alarm in the United States”, September 12, 2008, originally published in The Indian Express, http://deenaguzder.com/newly-published-articles/various-publications/indian-express. Accessed January 17, 2014

[4] Guzder, ibid

[5] http://www.whois.net/whois/indianchristianforum.org. Accessed January 18, 2014

[6]

[7] https://web.archive.org/web/20120304015458/http://www.indianchristianforum.org/.  See “Organizers” from the Menu on the left.  Accessed January 18, 2014

[8] See the list of Board Members at http://www.fiacona.org/information.php?page=executive. Accessed January 18, 2014

[9] See the 2008 FIACONA Press release on the election of Oommen on the new Board: “FIACONA ELECTS A NEW BOARD”, June 21, 2008, http://indianchristians.us/pressdetail.php?id=49. Accessed January 17, 2014

[10] See the list of Board Members at http://www.fiacona.org/information.php?page=executive. Accessed January 18, 2014

[11] See the list of Board Members at http://www.fiacona.org/information.php?page=executive. Accessed January 18, 2014

[12] https://web.archive.org/web/20120304015458/http://www.indianchristianforum.org/. See “Organizers” from the Menu on the left.  ICF lists that it is a Member of FIACONA