Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bangladeshi Hindus rally for Trump at White House

Sunday, Dec 11th - nearly 100 Hindus rallied outside the White House to request that the outgoing Obama administration and incoming Trump administration voice for minorities who are currently being persecuted in the Islamic State of Bangladesh. They are also requesting that Bangladesh become a secular state. Due to an ever increasing ISIS contingency  in Bangladesh, non-Muslims have been experiencing an escalation in targeted violent attacks. Since late October, Islamic radicals have either vandalized or destroyed nearly 20 Hindu temples along with hundreds of Hindu homes and businesses. This year, Islamic extremists have carried out several deadly attacks against non-Muslims including the murder of elderly Hindu and Buddhist priests, the hacking to death of a Hindu tailor and a Hindu teacher, the murder of two Christians outside a prayer meeting, and the targeted slaughter of two gay rights activists. The demonstration follows similar protests held outside Trump Tower and the United Nations in November. 

Violence against Hindus and other non-Muslims has a long and bloody history in Bangladesh and has become even more common with the influx of ISIS elements into the nation. During the 1971 Liberation War, Hindus were targeted for ethnic cleansing by competing regimes, leading to the systematic slaughter and exodus of millions. After the liberation war, Bangladesh made Islam the official state religion and began a campaign of seizures of Hindu lands under what were known as "Enemy Property Acts". Due to ongoing violence and institutional discrimination, it has been estimated that 49 million Hindus have gone "missing" from Bangladesh since 1971, reducing the Hindu population from 18% to 9%

Many influential members of the Bangladeshi Hindu community living in America supported Donald Trump during the election, hoping he would curb Islamist violence in the region (see video below). Trump reached out to the Hindu community during his campaign, stating that under his administration "Hindus will have a true friend in the White House,"  In October, Trump attended a charity event to raise funds for Bengali Hindu victims of Islamic terrorism. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has also issued statements on the current plight of minorities in Bangladesh. 

Due to the dire circumstances of their community back home, the Bangladeshi Hindu community has aligned with Donald Trump in significant numbers, especially in NYC where they are most concentrated. Even though the number of Bengali Hindus is relatively small in comparison to their Indian counterparts, they are a particularly vocal and intellectual groups which makes them especially persuasive in the American Hindu political community. Donald Trump garnered support from Indians and Pakistani Hindus by identifying the Isamist regime of Pakistan as a nuclear threat; he may also find a groundswell of support if he should further elaborate on the plight of Hindus and other minorities living in Bangladesh, a nation which is quickly becoming a new haven for ISIS

Statement By Congresswoman
Tulsi Gabbard

In the United States, Hindu congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has started a video and petition campaign to help fight the rise of violent Jihad within the Islamic State of Bangladesh. Her video and petition highlights the ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh, the decimation of the Hindu population from 18% in 1971 to less than 10% today, expulsions and land grabs, the rape and forced conversions of young Hindu women, and the ongoing attacks on Hindu places of worship. 


Aloha and Namaste. While we here in the United States may sometimes take our freedoms for granted, Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual terror. Forced conversions to Islam, rapes and abductions, extortions and land grabbing and forced expulsion, desecration and destruction of places of worship, are just a few of the types of violence that are currently being unleashed. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh has dwindled from 18% in 1971 to a meager 9.7% today. Accounting for the overall population growth during this time this is a net loss of about 53 million Hindus from Bangladesh. That’s close to the total population of a dozen European Union countries or that of more than fifteen U.S. States that has simply vanished from a tiny country about the size of Greece or the State of New York.
Compounding the problem is the rapid rise of violent jihadists in Bangladesh. We’ve seen in the news recently word of terrorist attacks, machete attacks and beheadings of Hindu priests, secularists, bloggers, and intellectuals. Yet there has been no real action taken by the Bangladesh government to quell this festering crisis.
We must stand together with the people of Bangladesh. Please sign this petition as we call on the Bangladesh government to take urgent action against the horrific oppression and terror that plagues religious minorities in Bangladesh every day.


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