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USCIRF 'penetrated' by anti-India pan Islamist groups: Report

ANI | Updated: Apr 25, 2022 19:57 IST


Washington [US], April 25 (ANI): The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is slated to publish its annual report on international religious freedom on April 25 but some key influential officials of the USCIRF have been seen on the platforms of IAMC, an Islamist group, and Jamaat-linked organizations which have been peddling the anti-India narratives in the US, says a report by Disinfo Lab.
USCIRF has in recent years become critical of India and even deems the country as a majority-religion ruling state, with no concern about the human rights and Muslim minority communities. However, many are not acquainted with the driving forces behind the why US Federal commission maligning India in its reports.
According to a recent report published by Disinfo lab, an independent OSINT based research organization, it was from 2013-14 USCIRF has been under the targeted lobbying influence of the Islamist group Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), whose founder Shaik Ubaid was once enjoying a leading role at the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which is the off-shoot organization of Jamaat-e-Islami (Pakistan), in the US.
IAMC had been in the Indian news cycle not once but on numerous occasions. In December 2021, it was slapped with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPA) for spreading fake news and instigating communal disharmony during Tripura violence, and also time and again reinforced the narrative of oppression of minorities in India.
IAMC was also in the headlines for inviting the former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari on the occasion of India's Republic Day which created a lot of buzz in the media.
Shaik Ubaid, along with the IAMC has been working with the influential members of USCIRF including its Chair Nadine Maenza to get India listed as CPC since 2013-14.
The first effort by IAMC was seen when IAMC had hired a lobbying group Fidelis Government Relations and its President Terry Allen for USD 55K for lobbying the USCIRF to get India blacklisted.
The lobbying efforts were apparent when the USCIRF started using the Pakistan-approved map of India which excluded Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Arunachal Pradesh in 2014.
Incidentally, Terry Allen and Nadine Maenza once worked together for the Republican candidate Rick Santorum during the 2016 presidential campaign and even shared an organization "Patriot Voices" with Nadine as its President. Nadine was instated in USCIRF in 2018 as commissioner which the IAMC founder Shaik Ubaid claims were due to his efforts.
Apart from a critical stand on India, Nadine also shares a company 'Hardwired Global' with Angana Chatterji, an anthropologist and historian, and a close aide of the ISI-mole Ghulam Nabi Fai.
Revelation by Disinfo Lab has unearthed that Chatterji was a frequent participant of Fai's events held in Washington on Kashmir which were sponsored by the ISI. In 2011, Fai was convicted of concealing the transfer of USD 3.5 mn from the ISI to the US via straw donors following the investigations by the FBI.
Anurima Bhargava, the commissioner of USCIRF is also a prominent player of flourishing the agenda to blemish India's image over religious freedom. Anurima is a member of the Open Society Foundation, founded by George Soros, a staunch critic of nationalism ideology, and countries like India, Russia, and China.
Another key USCIRF member who drafted the 2020 annual report of the USCIRF that enlisted India as CPC is Harrison Akins, who was the 'Senior Policy Analyst for South Asia' in the 2020 Report of USCIRF. Akins was the Ibn Khaldun's Chair and a Research Fellow at American University's School of International Services and is the protege of the Pakistani diplomat and former Pakistani High Commissioner to UK Akbar Ahmed.
These key influential officials of the USCIRF have been seen on the platforms of the IAMC and Jamaat-linked organizations 'Burma Task Force' and 'Justice For All'which "have not only been peddling the anti-India narratives in the US but also lobbied the USCIRF against India between 2018-2020".
In 2018, Burma Task Force collected Zakat in the name of helping Rohingyas and subsequently hired the same Fidelis Government Relations to lobby the USCIRF against India by paying USD 267K. As a result, USCIRF has been downgrading India under the negative trajectory under CPC.
Importantly, Burma Task Force is run by Justice for All, which in turn is powered by a Chicago-based multimedia company Sound Vision. Sound Vision was founded in 1988 by the Jamaat front ICNA. Interestingly, JFA and Sound Vision's founder Abdul Malik Mujahid was the Ameer (head) of ICNA, while Shaik Ubaid was its secretary-general. To give prominence to ICNA's connection with Jamaat-e-Islami, Abdul Malik Mujahid was the head of the student wing of JeI, i.e., Jamiat-e-Talaba between 1975-and 77.
ICNA's magazine 'The Message International' glorified Syed Salahuddin, the designated terrorist and head of the terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in the separation cause of Kashmir from India. Other key members of the ICNA included the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war criminal Ashraffuzaman Khan, who leads the Queen's chapter of the ICNA NY.
Recently, US Secretary Antony Blinken stated that the US was monitoring the rise in human rights abuse in India. However, as a push back, India's External Affairs Minsiter S Jaishankar also showed concerns about rising human rights violations in the US.
The "bipartisan federal government entity that monitors, analyzes, and reports on threats to religious freedom" had flagged India as a 'Country of Particular Concern' (CPC) in its annual reports in 2020 and 2021 consecutively.
Exposing the path-breaking nexus by the Disinfo Lab, it still remains to be seen whether the USCIRF, with much penetration of the anti-India Pan Islamist groups, continues to put India under the CPC when it publishes its 2022 annual report on April 25. (ANI)

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