Truth Behind Hindutva Nationalism in America with Dr Pieter Friedrich
Channel: Yasir Qadhi
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Hamdulillah we are very fortunate and honored to have visiting us from Connecticut. Peter Friedrich Peter Friedrich has written four books, multiple articles appeared on many news stations. And he is a award winning journalist who has just released a book, saffron America, India's Hindu nationalist project at work in the United States, this has literally just come out literally a few weeks ago, fresh off the press. It is the only book that is available outside in the wall. Inshallah it is the only book that details the effects of RSS and BJP and its affiliate organizations here in America has done extensive research in this regard. And we're very fortunate and honored to have him so
welcome to our moss Peter, thank you for hosting this salaam aleikum to you and to everybody else. ICOMOS. Silla, I'm honored to be here. Thank you very much, Peter, I want to ask a personal question. Before we get to the generics, obviously, a lot of us are going to be wondering, Peter Friedrich,
obviously, you're not from India with us, or assuming you're not from India. These days, you can make any assumptions about anything, apparently. But we're assuming you're not born and raised in India. So what caused you to take an interest in this? And here you are written books and articles on this, and you're now one of the foremost experts in this particular niche. So how did that come about? Well, I began on this issue. Born and raised in California, actually,
about 17 years ago, I had the opportunity to meet some people of Indian origin, especially Sikhs, and Dalits, initially, and became friends with them. My grandfather was a journalist. And I'd always been interested in that. And as I met these people from India, I began hearing their stories of things prior to Hindu nationalism, and meeting survivors of genocide, people who've been tortured by police, people whose parents had been murdered. And India became fascinated with it became really, it really moved my heart. And I began writing about it. And since then, 17 years later, I've continued focusing on issues related to human rights in India, the foremost one of which today is
Hindu nationalism, I find that very interesting, like basically just interacting with people who had been tortured, who had lived, you know, second third class citizenship, the Dalits of India, and you felt so motivated, you basically dedicated much of your life to just researching and, and uncovering this reality. So hats off to you that really shows courage, it shows a moral sense of justice and, and I'm really happy to hear that you have actually just released this book and hopefully, with, you know, it has been it has been endorsed by many top ranking intellectuals and hopefully Inshallah, within a few weeks, I hope, we're going to start hearing some prizes that this book gets because
this is literally brand new, by the way, a few weeks old. So we hope inshallah very soon, this type of information will be widely available to the public. Now I'm going to ask you, for those of us who are still not fully aware of the reality of RSS. What exactly is RSS? What is the BJP? What is Hindutva? If you can summarize for us, there are still some of us who probably are not fully familiar with this reality. The RSS is an almost 100 year old pair of paramilitary, which advocates an ideology of Hindu nationalism. And their goal is basically to turn India into a Hindu nation because they believe that India is an always must be always has been a nation of Hindus and only for
Hindus. And so specifically within that paradigm, they hate and they want to exterminate from the country, religious minorities, which particularly include Christians and Muslims, and they're 100 years old. But they are the head of a family of, of organizations which advocate the same Hindu nationalist or Hindutva ideology, which includes the BJP, the political party, which has been in power in India for the past nine years since 2014. So under the BJP, the RSS is politically in India, the situation for the past nine years has increasingly gone from bad to worse to now catastrophic. And I just had the privilege today of meeting for instance, the father of renowned
fantastic young Muslim scholar from India. Omar Khalid, his father, Dr. Aliases here, he's going to be speaking at the Indian American Muslim councils convention this weekend. He exemplifies what's happening there in India. His son was arbitrarily arrested, been rotting in jail for three years now without charges because he was organizing protests as a Muslim against these new laws which have been put in place in India with strip proper citizenship of Muslims against the situation
issue which has arisen under the RSS BJP, which I could delve into deeply, but basically is one of extreme authoritarianism, where every religious minority of Christian and Muslim background but also including now, Sikhs and others, Dalits, and even dissect dissenting Hindus who support secularism and pluralism. They're all in the crosshairs, they're all under threat. They're all living in fear as India's become the world's largest fascist state at this point. So the irony of ironies, RSS was only 100 years old. And of course, many of us including myself, our roots go back to that land and our roots go back 1350 years and in fact, I gave a sermon earlier this year, in which I highlighted
the role of Islam in India and the the lies that the BJP and the RSS is stating that Islam is alien to India, fact of the matter is modern India and the culture of India, the language of India would not be what it is today. Without the influence of Muslims. We have been an integral part of India for the last 1300 years. And in my sermon, I said something I want to jump it off of you want, I want you to comment on it, whether you agree or disagree. In my sermon, I mentioned that, in fact, the Nazi Party of Germany had links with the founders of the RSS, the RSS and the Nazi Party of Germany were contemporaneous 1920s. And there seems to be some relationship between the two. I
mentioned that I'm assuming you're the academic expert on this. So why don't you comment a little bit? Was there an actual relationship? And how do you see far right fascism overall, globally, the right wing nationalists, you know, wed with religious ideology around the globe. How is that linked to Hindutva and RSS and BJP? Well, absolutely. That is accurate. The RSS was inspired by and even had some interactions with those original European fascists in Italy, and the, of course, the Nazis in Germany. And I think in order to understand why India has become such a nightmarish situation today, and where Muslims are being pushed to the brink of genocide, where Christians are not far
behind, especially with what's happening in the state of Manipur right now, we have to understand that fascist origins of the RSS BJP, so to briefly summarize a couple of points. Yes, the Nazis, the Italian fascists, and the RSS were all founded in the 1920s contemporaneous with each other. And as they were being founded, the godfathers, the founding fathers of the RSS, looked over to those European fascists, and took inspiration from them, praised a lot of the things that they were doing in terms for instance of what they were doing with laying the laws for the precursors to the Holocaust, and conducting pogroms against the Jewish people in Germany, in terms for instance, of
the forefathers of the RSS, stating that they were seeing what the Nazis were doing to the Jews, and that they thought that Indian Muslims should be treated the same way. Even founding fathers of the RSS actually going over to Italy and meeting Mussolini. And then coming back and praising his fascist movement and saying that the RSS should be just like that not wanting to model themselves after the after those fascists that is absolutely terrifying. The actual founding fathers of RSS are praising Hitler and Mussolini. They're interacting with these organizations. And now their intellectual descendants are in charge of one of the largest quote unquote, democracies of the
world, which is now running amok as we can see, yes, God protect us all. Um, another question I have for you, and this is something you've studied immensely in this book.
Is it true to say that
RSS and Hindutva is not only interested in Indian Muslims rather, it is interested in spreading hatred against Islam globally? Yeah, absolutely. And, I mean, we only have to look at the videos that are emerging every single day from India, where there are these giant halls hundreds 1000s of people packed into halls to listen to these Hindu nationalist demagogues, people who are oftentimes they're being supported by the by elected officials from the BJP. And what they're doing is they're issuing calls, oath, taking ceremonies of calls to economically boycott, socially boycott and eliminate Muslims and they don't say Muslims in India. What they do say is they say in so many words
that we want to eradicate Islam from the globe.
The Hindutva Hindu nationalist movement in India, it's safe to say is the largest Islamophobic threat in the world right now. Not just however, because they want to eliminate 200 million Muslims from India.
but also because their goal is to eradicate Islam from the globe. And I myself have seen online in the online world,
Indian, you know, trolls getting involved in any type of Islamic debate that has nothing to do with India. And they're always propping up to the other side. They're always helping the other side, sometimes even financially, which leads me to my next question. A lot of us think here we are in America, they have nothing to do with us. They're not affecting us. Your entire book of 400 pages, 500 pages, your entire book is about saffron America, the impact of the BJP in American politics on American soil. So can you dispel this myth that well, who cares? They're far away. They're not affecting us here in America. Well, thank you for bumping me up a little bit. It's actually not it's
only 370 pages. Sorry. Okay. But I could have written a whole lot more on this topic. You're right, I probably could write two to three times as much on this topic. The RSS is in America, the RSS is is in our backyard, it here in the DFW region, deeply embedded here. And when I say that, I mean that this family of Hindu nationalist organizations of which the RSS in India is the head. They have direct corollaries in America, including I'll just name one at the moment, including a particular organization known as the HSS HSS HSS, which according to the HSS, the HSS is, is the RSS is us wing, and it maintains direct contact with the RSS back in India, it's routinely bringing RSS
leaders over to America to tour around and spread Hindu nationalist propaganda.
The HSS according to their own words, in this country, they have 230 chapters across the whole nation. In Texas, they have 30 in DFW, they have 1010 chapters of the same organization spread around this one city 10 chapters.
And what is the goal of the HSS? What is it want to do exactly? Well, it wants to I would say it is threefold goal. It serves as a support base for the regime back in India, in terms of doing things like allegedly, then their leaders and members and people that run an HSS circles, sending a lot of money back there. But definitely sending people back there to do to work as do things like work as campaign workers to get the BJP elected in India. So here in Texas, for instance, we've had HSS leadership, organize people to go back to India, mostly American citizens to go get the BJP elected back there. So that's that's one support base. Two is controlling the narrative about what's
happening in India, and controlling that narrative here in America a couple of ways. One, the One way they try to control the narrative is by spreading their propaganda by spreading the idea that Modi is Modi is God's gift to mankind for the world.
That sort of thing, but and also spreading their Hindu nationalist propaganda within the community. But also by going after anybody that's raising dissent that's raising these issues and drawing awareness to what's really happening and to the human rights crisis, which has unfolded there. One example being for instance, the HSS leadership went after receipt, a congresswoman Rashida Tlaib a couple of years ago and tried to unsuccessfully thank God but tried to unseat her because she's been so outspoken about what's happening there. And they also these groups have gone after any attempt in US Congress, multiple attempts, different bills to raise awareness to pass a resolution of
condemning human rights violations over there. They've also with US Congress, in the past one to two year was trying to pass an anti Islamophobia Act, the people that want it some of the only people in America who were lobbying against it were people from these groups. So that's that control the narrative and then three, last one, get their people into positions of power.
And they have been doing that at the local, state and federal level, trying to get people that are HSS associates or sympathizers, people that support the Hindu nationalist ideology.
People that will whitewash what Modi is doing in India, trying to get those people elected Lupin multiple of them. There's some in Congress right now. There's one who's who's lieutenant governor, the second highest rank, lieutenant governor in the state of Maryland.
And they've even recently, outside of elected office. In the past year, they've gotten three people who are directly associated with these groups into positions as advisors to the Department of Homeland Security, which I'm on most of them. But I don't know, if if I were Muslims, terrify having people that are members of the RSS in America or participated in it that
in a Homeland Security position, especially with what we've seen in the past 20 years, and the targeting of Muslim communities and the Islamophobia that has had to be combated, so So, so systematically, that would scare me. So again, as an American Muslim, to hear that an Islamophobic entity is permeating through our entire system. It is affecting every single election from the local to the federal, from congressmen, to senators from governor's lieutenant governors, from judges, even up to people running for President. Yes, we are seeing people running for president that are making statements. It is as if it is coming out of a BJP spokesperson. And they are not BJP
spokesperson. But are they with all of this involvement? And it's truly terrifying. And again, I mean, I'm pre empting it, I'm going to give him a sermon soon. We are more in number and more powerful. And yet we're so apolitical, we have to really look at the realities of what's going on this organization is hurting and harming us at every single level. And they're doing so. And it's not even an Indian issue anymore. Isn't Islam issue? There are they're targeting Islamophobic bills, trying to pass Islamophobic bills targeting anti Islamophobia is. So one other question I have before I get to the Israeli, the Israeli connection here. One other quick question I have is that,
is there an actual threat to safety for us here in America? Are there any risks of them inciting violence here in America?
I wouldn't have said this a couple of years ago, generally. But yes, very much. So even to the point that I'm wondering if I should be watching my own back. You have felt threatened, I have felt threatened. And I'll just I'll highlight a couple of things. So there's there's threats of intimidation. In terms for instance, that we saw this in New Jersey last year in India Day Parade, where marching in front was HSS, contingent marching behind was was a contingent of the US wing of the BJP. In the middle was a bulldozer with Modi's picture on it. And the bulldozer today represents as many people have said for Indian Muslims that represents what African Americans feel when they
see a noose. So intimidation, it represents death threats against academics and scholars. There have been attempts to shut down academic conferences about Hindutva at attempts which include massive waves of threats of death, and rape against those participating to the extent that it's caused some of those participants to actually drop out. And we're talking about American professors at American institutions hosting conferences on American soil,
and on American soil, and here also on American soil. We're talking just in the past couple of years about these groups bringing over to tour around this country, speakers from India,
who were involved in doing things like for instance, inciting the mob demolition of the Babri Masjid, the historic Babri Masjid back in 1992, which when that demolition occurred, that sparked off massacres of Muslims around Northern India who killed Yeah, yes, 1000s were killed. One of the people that was responsible for inciting that was brought over to tour around this country just last year by these groups, other similar similar speakers that spelled hate and when I say hate, I don't just mean I mean calls for genocide. Other similar speakers have have also in the past couple of years been brought over to tour around this country. And then beyond that a couple of other ways.
One is we're beginning to see what appears to be surveilling, surveilling of at the end doth protest. I witnessed this personally, in DC in June this year, where I participated in a protest against Modi, when he came, and people came up to me Indians say, this guy over here, who's in what, who's a leader in these groups. He's surveilling us. And I went, I asked around as a journalist, and people told me that he'd been similarly doing the things that the day before surveillance, threats to journalists as far as going all the way to the White House when Modi was here. He took one question from an American journalist
from a Muslim woman, Sabrina Siddiqui. I believe her name is as a result of her asking him question
Turn about human rights in India. She faced a wave of hatred, an onslaught of death threats and American journalist asking questions at the White House. And then
now, we're seeing two last things. One video just emerged a couple of days ago of up in Chicago area of somebody who appears to have links to this whole Hindu, American Hindu nationalist movements. young teenager who seems to have been radicalized Hindu teenager burning a Koran.
Last thing is, and this came out just a few weeks ago, and many of you have probably heard of this, because it's made global news
is that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came out put his neck on the line to make this allegation came out on the on the floor of Parliament, and said that they believe that the Modi regime was behind the assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. And since that has been raised, now, afterwards, the FBI News's emerged the FBI here in America has approached several other American citizens and warned them that they believe there are threats to their lives. And so for myself, because I've tried deliberately to make myself the biggest pain, the biggest thorn in the side of the Modi regime, and of their supporters here in America that I can. And I know that the
Modi regime knows who I am because Delhi police named me in a press conference two years ago on camera saying I am on the radar of Indian intelligence services. For me, that leaves me
glory of God. And come well, we'll His will be done. But that leaves me wondering if I should we watching my back? May God protect you and all those who are standing for truth and justice. It's you're doing a very, very brave job by highlighting the reality of this regime and their pernicious campaign to physically intimidate and harm Americans who are simply trying to preach the truth. Much more can be said, I'm going to finish off with one question that's very pertinent or relevant. But before I do, quickly, obviously, the book will be available outside and Peter is going to be outside as well for more questions and to purchase his book. Also, this weekend, there will be a conference
AAMC is doing its conference, over 22 speakers will be speaking about this reality will be this Saturday. The fliers outside, I too was invited. You know, I always love to attend these things. Unfortunately, I'm not available this weekend, but I would have come my spirit and my advisor with the convention. But Showhomes today man will be here and Professor Hudbay doing. Of course Peter as well then 20 over 20 speakers are going to be here on Saturday. So it makes sure that your attend this convention. But final question because it's relevant to you know what's going on right now. A lot of people think what's happening in Palestine in Israel is one dilemma, one problem, what's
happening India's another problem. But many people know there's a connection, you have studied this connection. Can you tell us the connection between the genocidal BJP and the apartheid scientists regime in the Middle East?
Yeah, that's a fascinating question. And there is some connection. I mean, obviously, one of the connections is that Hindu nationalism and Zionism are both religious nationalist, it theologies which advocate, one nation, one religion,
and which wants to make a particular religion, the basis for that country. And for that reason, you know, they have a lot in common. Netanyahu and Modi are what's known in South Asia as by by,
by by their best friends, their buddies, their brother, brother.
There's a reason for that.
India in particular, has a lot to gain from Zionism being protected. If India wants to become a Hindu nation, a Hindu nationalist, remain a Hindu nationalist government. So for instance, I would argue that most of it is India, the Hindu nationalist regime of India looking to the Zionist regime in Israel, it's it's less of less of Israel looking towards India.
What the Modi regime has been doing for instance, is just in 2019.
We had here again on American soil,
a slip of the tongue, if you will, where a senior diplomat, Indian diplomat in the US was at an event and he openly said that their goal in Kashmir
Muslim majority Kashmir, which had just then been annexed,
their goal there was to implement in his words the Israeli model Yes, very
were found a Freudian slip of the tongue that betrayed what is in their hearts. Exactly, exactly. You can't always hide what's in your heart.
Dell. Beyond that Kashmir is in particular, the soldiers occupying Kashmir have been frequently over the past several years being being trained by Israeli military,
Israeli armed forces, the IDF the IDF has been training Indian soldiers who are engaged in the occupation of Kashmir, I need you all to understand and memorize this point, Israeli military paramilitary forces are sent to India to train how to quell Kashmiri resistance, torture them to jail them to do their entire occupation regime. It's direct training, this is well known. And again, it's all exposed. So. So two points. One is this goes back to the origins of Hindutva. Back in the 1920s, in the 1930s, those founding fathers of Hindu nationalism that I talked about, at the time, before Israel became a state in the 30s. They were looking at Zionism, and they were praising it.
They were praising it because they saw Zionism as a justification for their model of Hindu nationalism in India. This one nation, one one religion, type of situation.
Now, they weren't, they weren't praising it so much specifically, however, because they supported the Jewish people. But because they they believed because this is a complicated situation, because we at the outset, we're talking about how RSS BJP Hindu, Hindu nationalism has these fascist Nazi connections. They're equal opportunity. They'll they want to be fascist, and we'll take inspiration from the fascist, but if they can get something from the Zionists, including the desire that Zionism helps them to justify Hindu nationalism, they'll take that and they'll take they'll take whatever else Israel will give them relationships with the Nazis and with nice Zionism at the same time. How
ironic and and last thing is on this question, is that that's that's the past present day, is that we're seeing
mutual admiration, especially among groups here in America, and mutual collaboration among Zionist and Hindu nationalist groups. We're seeing them frequently hosting events together. Now with the current situation in Palestine. We're seeing them coming out and with with statements, in support, backing up with what the Zionist regime is doing, they're backing up, Netanyahu unconditionally. And we're seeing the same thing present day with Hindu nationalist at all ideologues and with the Modi regime back in India. truly terrifying Peter, I could spend many many hours talking with you unfortunately, we do have to wrap it up. But I genuinely pray first and foremost, I'd like to thank
you for your courage for your standing up to truth and justice. You honestly are an inspiration to so many of us you didn't have to do this. This is not particularly the your culture your people anything but you just had an interest and one thing led to another and you still are getting threats but you're still writing and despite the threats you released this book a few weeks ago and it's now available on Amazon but you don't need to get it from Amazon you can get it outside in our in our masjid so I genuinely first admire your courage and secondly, as a believer and I know you're also a believer in God genuinely pray that God protects you and God blesses you and God allows you to
continue to do the service for all of humanity that's a genuine pleasure and honor and I hope our paths will cross again soon God bless again thank you Senator Mike well with that inshallah you can meet him outside and you can get the book and also our brothers shall also be here about the convention and shall there's a color
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