Islamophobia is taking its most lethal form in India: Noam Chomsky

Celebrated thinker Noam Chomsky said the “pathology of Islamophobia”, now growing throughout the West, was “taking its most lethal form in India where the Modi government is systematically dismantling Indian secular democracy and turning the country into a Hindu ethnocracy”. Chomsky’s comments came in a recorded message to a congressional briefing — the third in a month organised by US-based diaspora organisations on communalism in India.

Islamophobia is taking its most lethal form in India, with almost 250 million Muslims in the country becoming a persecuted minority, said Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s leading public intellectuals and Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The assault is taking other forms as well, including a general attack on independent thought and the educational system primarily directed against Muslim victims, but by now expanding beyond. That’s apart from India’s terrible crimes in Kashmir, those crimes have a long history. They’ve been sharply escalated by Modi’s rightwing Hindu nationalist regime,” Chomsky said.

He was speaking at a Congressional Briefing “Worsening Hate Speech and Violence in India” on 9 February co-hosted by 17 organizations, including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch, Indian American Muslim Council, International Christian Concern, Dalit Solidarity Forum, and Hindus for Human Rights.

Also speaking at the event, John Sifton, Washington, D.C.-based Asia Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch, said the “greatest threat” to India’s Constitution today was the Modi government’s “promotion of India’s majority religion, Hinduism, at the expense of the country’s secular foundation and its religious minorities. Worse still, there are growing concerns over the independence of Indian institutions. The Election Commission, the judiciary, and the National Human Rights Commission are all facing increasing scrutiny under implications of bias.”

“These deterioration’s are threatening India’s underlying identity—the very idea of India as a diverse, pluralistic nation-state—and they harm India’s global standing as a functioning, rights-respecting democracy. In every opportunity that presents itself, US officials, citizens, members of Congress, should forcefully communicate concerns about these deterioration’s to the Indian government,” he added.

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