The South Asia Solidarity group have sent an open letter to Sir Ian Blair regarding recent reports of ‘forced conversions’ that Savita covered earlier.
Dear Ian Blair,
As academics teaching at British universities, we are disturbed by your recent announcement reported in the Daily Mail (22 February), Metro (23 February) and elsewhere, that the police and universities are working together to target extremist Muslims who force vulnerable teenage Hindu and Sikh girls to convert to Islam.
Your statements appear to have been made on the basis of claims by the Hindu Forum of Britain who have not presented any evidence that such forced conversionsâ€š are taking place. In fact the notion of forced conversionsâ€š of young Hindu women to Islam is part of an arsenal of myths propagated by right-wing Hindu supremacist organisations in India and used to incite violence against minorities. For example, inflammatory leaflets referring to such conversionsâ€š were in circulation before the massacres of the Muslim minority in Gujarat exactly five years ago which left approximately 2,000 dead and over 200,000 displaced.
In our view, it is highly irresponsible to treat such allegations at face value or as representative of the views of Hindus in general. While we would condemn any type of pressure on young women to conform to religious beliefs or practices (whether of their own community or another) we can only see statements such as yours as contributing to the further stigmatising of the Muslim community as a whole and as a pretext for further assaults on civil liberties in Britain.
Dr Kalpana Wilson, SOAS, University of London, Dr Meena Dhanda, University of Wolverhampton, Dr Subir Sinha SOAS, University of London, Dr Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick, University of London, Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, University of Central Lancashire, Dr Manali Desai, University of Kent, Dr Pritam Singh Oxford Brookes University, Dr Sharad Chari, London School of Economics, Dr Navtej Purewal, University of Manchester, Dr Virinder Kalra, University of Manchester.
I’ve been extremely busy so haven’t been to fully explain the dirty scheming going on. The MCB have now issued a press release. Worthwhile reading is Awaaz SAW’s report on the conference that started all this.
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Filed in: Hindu,Organisations,Religion