Date: March 11, 2017
The following statement was issued by Ajay Shah, Convener, American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD)
Protest Against Reza Aslan’s Hinduphobic “Believer” on CNN Gains Steam as Major Hindu Organizations Unite to Demand Apology from CNN
The following statement was issue by Ajay Shah, Convener, American Hindus Against Defamation.
Led by the American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD), several Hindu Organizations have issued a joint statement against CNN demanding that it stop further airing “Believer with Reza Aslan” and issue an apology to the Hindu community for promoting xenophobia and Hinduphobia.
The participating organizations include, Hindu Mandir Executive Council (HMEC), representing over 150 temples across North America, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) with chapters in over one hundred cities in the US, Samskrita Bharati an authoritative source for Samskrita (Sanskrit) education across the world, Ekal Vidyalaya, a US sponsor of over 55,000 one teacher schools across India and Nepal and OFBJP, the US unit of the ruling BJP in India.
In several cities, the organizations that are signatory to this statement are co-sponsoring demonstrations against CNN and Mr. Aslan this weekend. On Saturday, March 11, AHAD co-sponsored a protest by dozens of Hindu organizations in New York, NY to protest the show that denigrated Hindu dharma and depicted the holy city of Varanasi as a “city of death.” Members of AHAD and VHPA also participated in community led protests in Atlanta, Houston, and, Washington, DC. Additional community protests are planned in Chicago and San Francisco, where AHAD and VHPA members will participate.
Utsav Chakrabarti, the Washington DC based coordinator of World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) said, “We express complete support towards a multitude of Hindu organizations and Indian American groups that joined hands to protest CNN’s dangerous misrepresentation of the Hindu community. We also thank the plethora of individuals and organizations that came together to lead the efforts to voice our concerns to CNN.”
Ajay Shah, convener of AHAD said, “Mr. Aslan has caused serious harm to Hindu community and put the safety of Hindu children in schools across the US in jeopardy. Instead of propagating ignorance and hatred couched in sophistry, Mr. Aslan, a practicing Muslim, should meet with practitioners of mainstream Hindu faiths. Learn about Hindu faith from our scholars, saints, priests and ascetics, and experience the practice of Hindu traditions from its practitioners and not merely from the libraries of elite institutions or known Hindu haters.” He added that “CNN has failed to hold itself to higher standards. Despite being alerted about the offensive content, CNN proceeded to air the show without consultation with practicing Hindu experts.”
Mr. Shah stated that, the Hindu organizations demand the following:
- An on-air apology from CNN and Mr. Aslan for offending a billion strong Hindu community
- No further airing of the offending episode
- A promise to consult practicing Hindu scholars nominated by Hindu Mandir Executive Council (HMEC),before programs relating to the Hindus are aired.
The following organizations have formally joined AHAD actions, with more organizations preparing to join in next few days:
- Hindu Mandir Executive Conference (HMEC)
- Ekal Vidyalaya
- World Hindu Council of America (VHPA)
- Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS)
- Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP)
- Samskrit Bharati
- Sewa International
- US Hindu Alliance (USHA)
- Param Shakti Peeth
- Om Kriya Yog Spiritual Center of Barphani Dham (Ramanadachrya Sampraday)
- Global Indians for Bharat Vikas (GIBV)
- Gayatri Chetna Center of NJ
- Gayatri Gyan Mandir of Itasca, IL
- Overseas Hindu Sabha
- Hindu Community Center, NJ
- American Hindus Against Defamation
About American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD)
American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) is the first and the most prominent Hindu organization in USA. A project of World Hindu Council of America (VHPA), AHAD has been actively monitoring media and products to ensure accurate representation of Hindu dharma, culture, images and icons.
For further information, please contact:
Convener, American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD)
Phone: (858) 866-9661
About World Hindu Council of America (VHPA)
World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) is the most prominent organization of Hindus in USA. Founded in 1970, it has branches across the country. For more information, please contact:
World Hindu Council of America (VHPA)
P.O. Box 600
460 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821