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  • Where is the Hindu Forum’s evidence?

    by Sunny
    13th March, 2007 at 4:27 am    

    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 conversions‚ are taking place. In fact the notion of forced conversions‚ 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 conversions‚ 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.

    Yours sincerely,

    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.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Hindu,Organisations,Religion

    16 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Kafr al-Hanadwa

      [...] is a really old fear voiced by men, of having “our” women taken away by “their” men, and in [...]

    1. soru — on 13th March, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

      I don’t want to give away any secret white Christian evangelising tips, but if you were seriously plotting to expand your religion, doing things the other way round seems to work a lot better, in the UK at least.

    2. Kismet Hardy — on 13th March, 2007 at 12:30 pm  

      I’ve been listening to Charles Manson’s album that he made in prison. It’s rather good

    3. Jagdeep — on 13th March, 2007 at 12:30 pm  

      Look, when you have menacing Islamists treating some University campuses as their personal fiefdoms for the last 15 years, the scope for groups like the Hindu Forum to rabble rouse is greatly enhanced. It’s good that the underlying themes of their campaign are being interrogated, but a few comments from Awaaz or the South Asian Alliance about the spread and activities of extreme Islamic groups on University campuses would be nice — especially given that in numbers, range, spread and activism they dwarf on campuses the activities of Hindu or Sikh right wingers.

      Unfortunately, there is something that makes them hold their tongue — something to do with ‘fighting the state’s oppression of Muslims’ by refusing to even countenance let alone criticise the deep roots of Islamist groups on University campuses for fear of ‘stigmatising Muslims’

      See, this is what happens when you go into denial about a primary problem — it festers and stinks and infects everyone else.

    4. Refresh — on 13th March, 2007 at 11:21 pm  


      I am not sure you can see the wood for the trees.

      If we are talking primary problems, we could go back 80 years or more. We could talk about anything and everything - but from your standpoint all of them could be a form of ‘denial’.

      As for

      “Unfortunately, there is something that makes them hold their tongue — something to do with ‘fighting the state’s oppression of Muslims’ by refusing to even countenance let alone criticise the deep roots of Islamist groups on University campuses for fear of ’stigmatising Muslims’”

      Stigmatise away. Don’t let it stop you.

      I have far greater faith in the general public than communalists.

      Can you imagine how it looks to anyone who cares to spend a fleeting moment at the charge - that muslims (of whatever hue) could convert sikh or hindu girls by getting them drunk - when alcohol is forbidden in Islam, apart from the ludicrous thought that anyone could be forcibly converted.

      To imagine that the top tier of the Met. police force would turn out in support of a Hindu Security Forum (with, it seems, links with the notorious RSS) is groundbreaking stuff. Only in Blair’s Britain.

      You have an axe to grind - grind away. But for goodness sake, don’t leave yourself open to a charge of being a communalist.

    5. Jagdeep — on 14th March, 2007 at 11:23 am  

      Refresh baby,

      When the RSS affiliated Hindu Forum raise a spurious scaremongering issue with communalist overtones their urban myth-making and impulse to do so is partially engendered by the reality that so many Islamist extremists have operated with virtual impunity for so long with their ‘in your face’ communalist bullshit, ignored by South Asian intellectuals and academics (and people like you) in Britain for the last one and a half decades – a denial and myopia that exists partly through genuine fear of confronting religious fanatics (thugs do intimidate people), but also because of the misplaced fear of stigmatising Muslims generally. The effect on the public space and the atmosphere of the Asian experience at Universities has been severe – it has degraded life in many ways, coarsened relationships and led to suspicion, fear and lack of trust at some pretty basic levels.

      These are not vague attitudes plucked out of the air randomly from something and somewhere, but real, quantifiable and observable ideologically motivated communalist politics.

      See here, for example.

      It’s really quite simple, and tangible. It has nothing to do with ‘going back 80 years’. It has to do with in-your-face communalist ideology propagated by religious extremists on UK campuses, organized and virulent, dogmatic, right-wing, continuous, un-contested; it is this that partly opens up a space for bigoted communalists like the Hindu Forum to render their perspective in this way, to push their squalid agenda, because they see the success of others who have gone down a similar path.Rats tend to attract other rats when they want to fight. If white nationalist bigots had operated on campuses and gone uncriticised and unopposed for so long we would feel the effects in the poisoned atmosphere and community relations right now. The comparison with the Islamists is precise. Challenging BNP type white nationalist extremists is not stigmatizing white people. Challenging the Hindu Forum or Sikh forum is not stigmatizing or demonizing Hindus or Sikhs. Equally, you criticising the Hindu Forum on this issue does not open you to accusations of being communalist because that would be an idiotic piece of logic; I’m sure you can see now.

      Some people are blind to this, perhaps because they are in some kind of sympathy with the rhetoric the Islamists cover their ideology with (all that persecution complex victimhood mongering), or are intimidated by them, or are worried about stigmatising Muslims. You should not worry about that. Anyone who cared for the communal health of South Asians in Universities in this country would have been writing letters and sounding the alarm about the Islamist right a decade ago, (although if they did they would probably have been slandered as being communalist for even raising the issue by some of the blind denial-ists), as well as paying heed to the Hindu Forum’s shenanigans now, because one has partly engendered the other. But the good thing is that it is not too late to do so.

      I condemn them all without reservation – Hindu, Sikh and Muslim, with their wretched identity politics and paranoid agitations, their communalist bigotry, their vilification of other groups, their ideological atavism, these rats that breed off each other and poison the atmosphere on University campuses. Do you?

    6. G. Tingey — on 14th March, 2007 at 12:00 pm  

      As a pinkie who had to cope with Hizb-ul-Tahrir (before they were banned) on the campus when I was doing my M.Sc. ….
      I’d believe almost anything about that collection of crypto-Nazis. They are deeply unpleasant.
      The thought that the reaction has been to produce RSS reaction ( were they not behind the assasination of the Mahatma?) is very worrying.

    7. Jagdeep — on 14th March, 2007 at 12:15 pm  

      Yes they are the same people G.Tingey, although I think that, quite funnily, the HF have shot their load prematurely on this issue, as it is plain and apparent that their rhetoric was couched in scaremongering and urban mythology, so excited were they to get headlines on this issue. Let’s see what happens.

    8. Refresh — on 14th March, 2007 at 2:23 pm  

      Jagdeep, that’s the fair response.

      Your earlier one clearly left a lot to be desired.

      The question now is how do we develop this debate along the lines in your post #6.

      The involvement of the Met. with the RSS-linked Hindu Forum is hardly helpful to the cause. I note also the jewish involvement.

      Why they would want to get involved is a recognition of the seriousness of this new front, as well as the mendacity of the alliance.

    9. sonia — on 14th March, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

      “Rats tend to attract other rats when they want to fight.”

      yup i hear what jagdeep is saying.

    10. Jagdeep — on 14th March, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

      Refresh it’s not some military campaign of Hindus + Jews + Tony Blair. They’re a bunch of opportunists who spun something (maybe individual stories) into an scaremongering story stoking urban myths. The meeting with Ian Blair was probably a routine multi-culti exercise that they engage in every now and again. They have shot their load. Next time they come out with a line like this they’ll have to put up or shut up regarding evidence. They have already begun to lose their credibility. Spectacular backfire for the HF and anyone else involved as far as I’m concerned.

    11. Bert Preast — on 14th March, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

      Not sure about that - the MCB have come out with untold porkies and still have the government’s ear.

    12. Chris Stiles — on 15th March, 2007 at 1:43 am  

      I suspect that the Hindu Forum are held in substantially more suspicion - by their own community - than the MCB ever were. (Outside the old uncles in banyans)

      Nothing to do with community capacities - at least in this case - merely to do with chronology, community arrival versus arising of communal politics.

    13. G. Tingey — on 16th March, 2007 at 9:48 am  

      I LOVE the idea of the MCB coming out with Porkies!

      Is there something we should be told?

    14. jp — on 19th March, 2007 at 10:33 am  

      The media has a part to play in this, grossly exaggerating the importance of this issue in the Hindu Security Conference, from which all this seems to have stemmed.

      Take this summary for example. The emphases are very different.

      It’s easy to criticise from a distance, but considering these issues in light of media reports alone is unlikely to give a fair view.

    15. Twining or Black in Blue — on 22nd March, 2007 at 10:59 am  

      I think the modern Asian Non Muslim female has an independent mind of her own, and don’t need protecting by the HFB. And conversion is a personal choice, but in this day of education how many people would convert. I’m not a woman, and even as a man I would not wish to convert, so would women? Security is one thing, incompetence is another but then look at the HFB, it’s still a job for the boy’s and girls, another typical institution where the wealthier are better off, and the people on the streets have little in terms of voices. I was called in to do a talk, only problem is, they were talking to the wrong person, they didn’t want me, they wanted someone else. Did I get another call? No. did i get an apology? No. A job for the boys and girls of the elite….

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