Major diaspora group, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) on Saturday called on Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives to “rescind their invitation” to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak before Congress.
“Modi’s address will go down as a dark day in the U.S. Congressional history,” a statement posted on their Twitter said. “It is unacceptable to welcome a leader who was once banned from entering the US for his role in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, in which 2,000 predominantly Muslim Indians were killed.”
It is my honor to invite @PMOIndia@narendramodi to address a Joint Meeting of Congress on Thursday, June 22nd.— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) June 2, 2023
This will be an opportunity to celebrate the enduring friendship between the United States and India and speak to the global challenges our countries both face. pic.twitter.com/gu68UjJltG
Top leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties signed the invitation letter to Modi saying that the speech on June 22 would celebrate the “enduring friendship” between the two countries.
The opportunity to address Congress is considered a rare opportunity granted only to the country’s closest allies.
“Based on our shared values and commitment to global peace and prosperity, the partnership between our two countries continues to grow,” the letter stated.
“This invite is a gift, pure and simple, to an authoritarian, anti-minority leader with blood on his hands. This address to the Congress and the State Dinner at the White House both will leave a stain on the U.S. Congress and the @POTUS administration,” IAMC tweeted.
This year, for the fourth time in a row, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called on the US Department of State to designate India as a “country of particular concern” taking stock of the conditions in the country for religious minorities.
Modi’s visit to the US comes amid intensifying competition between Washington and Beijing, and as India has become a major geopolitical and economic power.
In 2005, the US denied Modi a diplomatic visa and revoked his existing tourist/business visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which makes a foreign government official who is responsible for particularly severe violations of religious freedom ineligible.
“Over the last 9 years, Modi’s policies and rhetoric have contributed to marginalization and discrimination faced by religious minorities in India, including Muslims and Christians,” the group said.