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Biden's State Department Blanks Out Persecution of Christians

Updated: May 16

US Commission on International Religious Freedom Slams Democrat Deceit



An independent, bipartisan federal government commission is excoriating President Joe Biden's State Department for giving a pass in its recommendations and actions to countries where the persecution of Christians is on the rise.

 

In its latest report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) slammed the Biden administration for not designating India and Nigeria as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), despite "the particularly severe religious freedom violations in those countries."

 

Biden Exonerates Worse Violators of Religious Freedom

The CPC designation is imposed on countries that are seen as the "worst violators of religious freedom globally" on the basis of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. India and Nigeria have both seen an exponential rise in attacks on Christians by Hindu and Muslim extremists over the past year.

 

"USCIRF rejects the State Department's decision to omit Nigeria and India as CPCs," the bipartisan body stressed. "We met with the State Department on many occasions to sound the alarm about these countries, but not all of our recommendations have been followed."

 

"We will not be deterred and will continue our role as a congressionally mandated watchdog to ensure the US government prioritizes religious freedom as a key component of US foreign policy," a statement from USCIRF noted.

 

Violence Against Christians in India Peaks

Religious freedom conditions in India continued to deteriorate in 2023. The government, led by the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, failed to address communal violence disproportionately affecting Christians and other minorities, the USCIRF lamented.

 

In 2023, NGOs reported 687 incidents of violence against Indian Christians, who continued to be detained under various state-level anti-conversion laws, which have been imposed in 13 of the 28 states in the union of India in violation of international human rights laws.

 

In the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh alone, as of May 2023, more than 855 people had been detained under charges of illegal conversion since the promulgation of the state's anti-conversion law in 2020, the USCIRF report noted.

 

In June 2023, more than 500 churches and two synagogues were destroyed and over 70,000 people displaced during clashes in the overwhelmingly Christian state of Manipur, while Hindu nationalist officials pressured tribal Christian leaders to renounce their faith and observe the indigenous Meitei religion, Sanamahism.

 

State Department Report Omits 'Christian' or 'Church'

However, the State Department's latest 80-page Human Rights Report on India does not mention the word "Christian" even once, but lists human rights abuses against Hindus, Muslims, and Jews, explicitly naming all three groups. It also uses the term "places of worship" while completely omitting the word "church."

 

International bodies, including the British and European parliaments, have documented that the violence in Manipur is predominantly a case of persecution against Christians by militant Hindus, who are supported by the Modi government and its affiliates. However, the Biden administration blanks out the persecution angle and blames the violence on "ethnic conflict."

 

The report also omits the nearly two dozen Kuki Christian women who were recently gang-raped by Hindu Meitei mobs, and in some cases paraded naked and murdered. Instead, it vaguely refers to "media reports on several women raped and assaulted during the violence."

 

Despite the egregious violations of human rights and persecution of minorities, the United States and India continue to maintain strong bilateral ties, with the US government providing $130 million for programs in India during the fiscal year 2023, the USCIRF observed.

 

The report also raises concern over Biden hosting a state dinner for Modi and showering him with the highest honors in June 2023 when, in fact, in 2005, the United States denied Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, an entry visa on charges related to "religious freedom violations."

 

"The Biden administration is clearly sidelining human rights in the interest of advancing partnerships with governments it sees as strategically important — and sending a message that the US is willing to tolerate blatant failures to protect and uphold human rights," said Carolyn Nash, Asia advocacy director at Amnesty International.

 

Wooing the Hindu Vote

Election-watchers have noted that the Hindu vote could be a key factor in the Biden administration's silence on India's human rights abuses, with Hindus (172,000) outnumbering Muslims (123,000) in battleground states like Georgia.

 

This is particularly significant with Muslims feeling betrayed by Biden's Middle East flip-flopping on Israel. "The consequences of the conflicts are spreading far beyond the Middle East region, directly impacting the outcomes of the US presidential election," according to Giovanni Chiacchio of the Center for Studies of Geopolitics and International Relations.

 

While the Pew Research Center said 0.7 percent of Americans were Hindu in 2015, and their number is projected to grow to 4.8 million by 2050, Harvard Divinity School estimated their number to be 2.5 million in 2018. Some Hindu Americans said the number was as high as 5 million, when Sikhs and Jains were included.

 

Wisconsin, one of the swing states, has an estimated 38,400 Hindu voters. Biden won this state by 20,000 in 2020. The Democrats are hoping that the Hindu vote may be able cushion the blow from the boycott by the state's 68,000 Muslims.

 

"Hindu-Americans can play a key role in President Biden's reelection," Ramesh Kapur, a Massachusetts-based political fundraiser, pointed out.

 

Dr. Jules Gomes, (BA, BD, MTh, PhD), has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Cambridge. Currently a Vatican-accredited journalist based in Rome, he is the author of five books and several academic articles. Gomes lectured at Catholic and Protestant seminaries and universities and was canon theologian and artistic director at Liverpool Cathedral.


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