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Thursday, April 18, 2024

US Muslim group calls on Congress to scrap Indian prime minister’s address

'If the Joint Meeting occurs, we plan to urge Members to boycott it,' says CAIR official in letter

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged leaders of the US Congress on Wednesday to cancel Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address in June.

Modi’s address “sends the message that repressing Christians, Muslims, Dalits, Sikhs and other faith minorities is not an issue for the U.S. Congress,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw in a letter sent to the Congressional leaders.

Read more: India opposition leader Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at Modi over China in US visit

They include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“Modi’s anti-democratic policies, such as smothering critical journalism, are also the opposite of what the U.S. Congress should be seen as celebrating. If the Joint Meeting occurs, we plan to urge Members to boycott it,” said McCaw.

The US’s largest Muslim advocacy group also demanded that India be designated a Country of Particular Concern due to the Modi government’s alleged human rights abuses of Christians, Muslims, Dalits, Sikhs and other faith minorities.

Read more: India gets new parliament building as Modi remakes capital’s centre

Meanwhile, CAIR also called on the Biden administration to cancel a planned state dinner honoring Modi.

In a letter to the Indian prime minister in early June, McCarthy asked Modi to address Congress on June 22, saying “you will have the opportunity to share your vision for India’s future and speak to the global challenges our countries both face.”

Modi’s visit to Washington will mark his first since Biden assumed office in January 2021. Just two other world leaders have been granted state visits by Biden — French President Emmanuel Macron in December and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in April