Help stop religious persecution in India ! Contact your Member of Congress and ask him/her to sign onto the Akin-Wicker letter to the Indian Prime Minister. Reps. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) will be sending a letter to PM Singh of India asking him to intervene on behalf of Hopegivers International and other religious groups in India currently being persecuted by Hindu extremists. Call or email your Member of Congress today and urge them to sign onto the Akin-Wicker letter. Call your Representative or Senator at 202-224-3121 (Capitol switchboard) or find their email address at www.house.gov or www.senate.gov The deadline for your Senators and Representatives to sign onto this important letter is Wednesday, March 29th, so please call or email today!
Below is a copy of the letter:
Dear Prime Minister Singh,
As evidenced by the recent visit of President Bush, India is an important friend and ally of the United States . India is a strong voice for democracy and stability in South Asia and has been a staunch ally in the War on Terror. Our countries economic, political, security and social ties are strong, and we look forward to continuing to fortify this relationship.
It is as friends that we write today to voice our concern about the recent increase in religious violence in parts of your country. As you know, the freedom to believe and practice a religion of ones own choosing is vital to maintaining a strong democratic nation. The persecution of religious groups, no matter how large or small, is a step backwards for any country, especially growing democracies like India . In recognition of this, India ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1979, which states in Article 18, Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
We believe that India s leaders value religious freedom, but we are concerned about the recent spike in violence against religious minorities in parts of your nation. The ongoing attacks on both Christians and Muslims are disturbing, and we urge you to take strong actions to protect all your citizens from religious violence. We also are concerned about the movement to adopt anti-conversion laws in various Indian states. While individuals should be protected from coerced conversion, citizens must be free to choose and change their beliefs as they see fit. Anti-conversion laws, like the one recently introduced into the Rajasthan Assembly, are alarming, because of the seeming encouragement they provide to groups promoting violence against minority religious groups, and are a clear contradiction to the values reflected in the ICCPR. We urge you to take a stand against these harmful laws.
We have enclosed for your review several examples of recent acts of religious violence in India that have come to our attention. We find one specific situation to be particularly dire and troublesome. The recent attacks in Rajasthan on Emmanuel Missions International, known in the United States as Hopegivers International, are of deep concern to many in our country. This Christian organization, which runs a number of orphanages and schools, has suffered numerous attacks and now its 2,600-child orphanage in Kota is under a virtual siege. Two administrative staff have been under arrest for three weeks without charges, and the leaders of Emmanuel are in hiding as a bounty has been publicly placed on their lives. Emmanuels bank accounts have been frozen, and a school and church were burned down in Jaipur as the local police watched. We have grave concerns about the ability and desire of the local authorities to protect these children and the staff of Emmanuel. Therefore, we respectfully request that your government take immediate action to quell the violence and religious discrimination in Rajasthan. The situation in Kota , Rajasthan, is of special interest to many Members of the U.S. Congress and our constituents, and we look forward to learning of your actions on behalf of the persecuted Christians of Emmanuel Missions International.
Thank you for your continued friendship with the United States . We truly appreciate your leadership and the strong, reliable ally America has in your country, and we urge you to continue to protect the foundations of religious freedom vital for the growth of democracy.
REP TODD AKIN
REP ROGER F WICKER