Monday, July 06, 2015

US Elections an Opportunity to Save Bangladesh's Hindus

I can remember talking with a US lawmaker and staff about the ethnic cleansing of Bangladesh's Hindus.  At one point, the staff person asked, "If this is such a big problem that we have to do something, why haven't we heard much from American Hindus?"  They had to attend to the needs of many constituencies, and ignoring those needs to focus on something not significant to the actual community involved did not seem right.  Since then, some US Hindus have made some noise, but it has been rather tepid at best.  Two pieces of evidence:
  • On April 30, 2015, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs held hearings about the deteriorating situation in Bangladesh, but it did not recommend action and only slightly addressed the plight of Hindus and the danger it means for all of us.
  • Prior to its last visit to Bangladesh, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom asked for contacts who would confirm the persecution of Hindus and government complicity there, but it ignored the evidence it received in its report.
With US elections coming in 2016, however, Hindus and other have a chance to do something real about it.  Several presidential hopefuls can make this an issue.  Florida Senator Marco Rubio's staff, for instance, has been working with me and gathering evidence.  Florida Senator Jeb Bush once me with Bangladeshi officials.  And President Barack Obama once derisively called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "the Senator from Punjab" because of Clinton ties with India.  There are tight and not so tight races nationwide for Senator and Member of Congress, many in districts and states with significant Hindu populations.  But the impact will be there only if we press our case.  And it becomes even stronger if Hindus align with other religious groups, as we have been doing with Jews and Hindus in the Chicago area.

I urge everyone who believes we have to seize these opportunities to contact me through this blog, my web site, facebook, or tumblr account (the latter is under the name bdhindus); or email me at

We CAN do something to save millions of innocents--or we can let the moment pass and see them destroyed.

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