by Inconnu and Danios
A few months ago, Islam “experts” Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller hosted on their respective websites a video of a young Hindu girl who advocated “wiping Pakistan off the map.” At that time, LoonWatch had quickly responded and exposed the genocidal content expressed in the video. It has now come to our attention (hat tip: Jack) that in addition to the genocidal content, the makers of the video are of interest. The video was shot and released by the Vishaw Hindu Parishad (VHP), a militant and genocidal group.
This extremist Hindu nationalist party seeks to “Hinduize” India. They view India as a Hindu country, and the Muslim and Christian minorities in it as invaders, or at least those descended from invaders. The Islamophobes like Spencer and Geller sympathize with Hindus who revile Muslims for the Arab conquest of India, but conveniently forget the British colonization of India. Both occupations resulted in sizable Muslim and Christian minorities respectively. Many Hindu Indians want their country to be a pluralistic and democratic state, comprised of people of various faiths all equally Indian. The VHP, on the other hand, doesn’t want this.
Human Rights Watch says that the VHP has “collectively and violently promoted the argument that, because Hindus constitute the majority of Indians, India should be a Hindu state.” VHP members want to enact a fundamentalist Hindu interpretation of religious law in the country, and want to “cleanse” the country of the influence of the Muslim and Christian “invaders”. The VHP’s view of Muslim and Christian Indians as “invaders” causes the group to flirt with genocidal ideas.
Those genocidal ideas became more than just ideas in 2002, when VHP members orchestrated the Gujarat riots, which Human Rights Watch refers to as an “anti-Muslim pogrom” and which Professor Allan D. Cooper calls a “genocide” of Gujarati Muslims. Prof. Cooper includes the Gujarat massacre in his book The Geography of Genocide, in which he provides a “case series” of historical genocides. On pp.183-184 of his book, Cooper writes (emphasis is ours):
A Hindu mob stormed the Muslim area of Naroda Patia in Ahmedabad…killing at least 65 people…More attacks on Muslims in Gujarat state followed that killed about 2,500, destroyed thousands of homes, and resulted in the gang rapes of hundreds of Muslim women and girls.
There is evidence of state complicity in the genocide against Muslims…The government had ordered the killing of Muslims.
More than 20 Hindus eventually were sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in the genocide.
Human Rights Watch issued a report, declaring:
The groups most responsible for the anti-Muslim violence include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, VHP), the Bajrang Dal (the militant youth wing of the VHP), and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps, RSS). Collectively they form the sangh parivar (or “family” of Hindu nationalist groups).
The VHP was founded by RSS and maintains links, so all three groups implicated by Human Rights Watch are related to VHP. The VHP has a “militant youth wing” that has inflicted violence upon Muslims and Christians throughout the country. Following the Gujarat riots, the VHP promised similar developments throughout India. Human Rights Watch writes:
…VHP officials declared that the strategy used in Gujarat would be repeated all over India, thus raising concerns of further communal violence…Members of the VHP in Rajasthan are busy distributing weapons similar to those used in Gujarat, as well as literature depicting Muslims as sexual deviants and terrorists…
The violence in Gujarat underscores the volatile consequences of rising Hindu nationalist sentiment propagated by the sangh parivar…The arming of civilians continues unabated in the state. Training camps, known as shakhas, continue to multiply, providing weapons such as tridents and swords and extensive physical and ideological training to men as well as young boys targeted in recruitment drives.
So far, there is nothing that would upset Robert Spencer or Pamela Geller too much. After all, the violence is only against “Moozlems.” But perhaps they ought to read the following line in the same Human Rights Watch’s report:
Christians in the state have also come under renewed legislative and physical attack [by the VHP].
The VHP has been responsible for widespread communal violence not just against Muslims, but against Christians. HRW’s report holds the VHP responsible not only for “nationwide violence against India’s Muslim community in 1992 and 1993” but also for “nationwide violence…against Indian’s Christian community since 1998…stemming in large part from violent activities and hate propaganda.”
In 2008, the All India Christian Council issued a fact finding report after anti-Christian attacks. The report states:
The VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) instigated the attacks and carefully targeted Christians throughout Kandhamal District, Orissa.
The report states that 95 churches were burnt and destroyed, and 730 houses were set on fire and completely destroyed (415 of them in one village alone). Not only this, the attackers looted the gold, cash, and jewelry from the homes of villagers. The Guardian reports that overall thousands of churches and houses have been burned down to the ground.
According to the report by the All India Christian Council, the VHP attackers used several hate-filled slogans, including:
Only Hindus to stay here – no Christians to stay here
Just to give one example from the report:
There was a small church that was attacked. The pastor, Rev. Kalia Mani Digal, and 12 Christians were forcibly taken to a field and were tonsured (heads shaved) because they refused to deny their Christian faith. Later all of them were told to eat raw rice mixed with goat blood in order to become Hindus.
The report also states that there was a conspiracy to hide the bodies of the dead Christians to conceal the evidence of deaths in the Christian communities.
On their website, the VHP addresses some of the allegations of violence against Christians. Their answers are eye-opening:
There has been violence against Christians in Gujarat. What are the reasons for it?
Much of this violence has been due to the provocation by the Christians…Unless the provocation is removed, the violence will continue.
In fact, a simple glance at their website finds that they dedicate more of their vitriol against Christians than Muslims. The VHP has a particular problem with Christian missionaries who operate in India, whom they accuse of “tricking” Hindus into converting to Christianity…which was the “provocation”. On its website, the VHP says:
…A convert from Hinduism is not only one Hindu less, but an enemy more.
Not only this, they claim that Christian missionaries undertake social services in order to convert Hindus to Christianity:
The objective of the social service is to get an access to the people who are targeted for conversion. Once the missionaries come close the people, and the latter become obligated to them, the ‘benefits’ of believing in Christ is explained to them. This is done not on the basis that there is any special merit in the new system, but because Christ is supposed to have told them that praying to any other god will make them go to hell.
This social service is of many forms – education, medical facilities, etc. In the past these services were concentrated in urban or rural areas. During the colonial times, these services were financed mostly by the taxes that were levied on the local people. In many cases, land and facilities belonging to Hindu organisations were appropriated and given to the missionary organisations. Also, Hindu organisations were discouraged from starting social service projects.
Hence, the social service was done by utilising the money of the people who are Hindus. Even today,many of the established social service activity is funded by the state. For example, all the colleges, whether run by the missionaries or the Hindus, get state aid. Many of the other projects also receive government support through grants being given to those registered as NGOs. The funds received from outside India are then used for setting up the organisation for conversions.
Moreover, the VHP even claims that Christians use “inducements and fraud” to convert people:
With conversions by force not being possible, the methods that are applied are inducements and fraud. Inducements are the so-called social service activities, and these have been documented by the Niyogi Committee. In most cases, the social service benefits was provided only to those who agreed to convert. A loan given to a tribal is cancelled if he, along with his family, becomes a Christian. While the commission dealt with Madhya Pradesh only, the practices that have been narrated are the ones that are a common practice all over India, and indeed in the rest of the world.
The fraud that is done is to pretend that a person has become well because of the ‘power’ of Christ. While treating an illness, a missionary gives medicine of no value and asks the tribal to take it while offering prayers to his present deity. Of course, there is no cure. Next, the missionary gives real medicine and asks the tribal to take it while offering prayers to Christ. The recovery is attributed to Christ and not to the medicine.
Fraud also takes place when there are programmes of what are called faith healing. ‘Lame’ people are said to be cured, and ‘blind’ recover their sight. These ‘miracles’ are used to establish the superiority of Christ.
In fact, they are so against Hindus converting to Christianity that the VHP has organized mass conversions back to Hinduism (most of them are forced conversions as we shall see later):
More than 200 Christians in the eastern Indian state of Orissa have reconverted to Hinduism on Thursday in the presence of the leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
They were reconverted at a Hindu temple in Jharsuguda in western Orissa where the tribal Christians were first purified by rituals and then re-admitted into Hinduism.
Representatives from the hardline Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) were also present.
The ceremony was part of the VHP’s plan to reconvert 400,000 tribal Christians back to Hinduism.
On their website, the VHP has delineated a set of principles, their “Hindu Agenda.” They call for a ban on conversion from Hinduism to Christianity, declaring:
Strict ban should be imposed on the nationally dangerous process of conversion of Hindus through allurements, mispropaganda and terror by taking disadvantage of the poverty and gullibility of the backward segments of Bharatiya community.
The ban applies to any conversion based on “mispropaganda”, and the VHP classifies missionary teaching as such, thereby effectively prohibiting virtually all conversions.
Why the silence from Spencer, the resident “Islam expert,” on this lack of religious freedom? Why has he not spoken out against the resistance of the VHP to conversions from Hinduism to Christianity? As we see, it is not only Muslim fundamentalists who kill apostates; Hindu extremists do it too. Hundreds of Christians have been forcibly converted to Hinduism, whereas we have not heard of any forced mass conversions in the Muslim majority world today.
Islamophobes like Spencer and Geller like to rant about how many extremist Muslims there are in the world. Well, there are 6.8 million members of the VHP alone, not to speak of the other extremist Hindu nationalist groups. The Guardian reports:
Convert or we will kill you, Hindu lynch mobs tell fleeing Christians
Hundreds of Christians in the Indian state of Orissa have been forced to renounce their religion and become Hindus after lynch mobs issued them with a stark ultimatum: convert or die.
The wave of forced conversions marks a dramatic escalation in a two-month orgy of sectarian violence which has left at least 59 people dead, 50,000 homeless and thousands of houses and churches burnt to the ground. As neighbour has turned on neighbour, thousands more Christians have sought sanctuary in refugee camps, unable to return to the wreckage of their homes unless they, too, agree to abandon their faith.
Last week, in the worst-affected Kandhamal district, The Observer encountered compelling evidence of the scale of the violence employed in a conversion programme apparently sanctioned by members of one of the most powerful Hindu groups in India, the 6.8-million member Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) – the World Hindu Council.
Standing in the ashes of her neighbour’s house in the village of Sarangagada, Jaspina Naik, 32, spoke nervously, glancing towards a group of Hindu men watching her suspiciously. ‘My neighbours said, “If you go on being Christians, we will burn your houses and your children in front of you, so make up your minds quickly”,’ she said. ‘I was scared. Christians have no place in this area now.’
On her forehead, she wore a gash of vermilion denoting a married Hindu woman, placed there by the priest at the conversion ceremony she had been obliged to attend a day earlier, along with her husband and three young children. ‘I’m totally broken,’ she said. ‘I have always been a Christian. Inside I am still praying for Jesus to give me peace and to take me out of this situation.’
She and her neighbour, Kumari Naik, 35, gazed forlornly at the charred remains of the house. The mob that arrived one evening in the first week of the violence, armed with swords and axes, had looted what they wanted before dousing the building with petrol and setting it alight. Kumari had fled into the nearby forest with her husband, Umesh, and 14-year-old son Santosh. A smoke-damaged child’s drawing of Mickey Mouse pinned to one wall was all that remained of their former lives. Shattered roof tiles crunched underfoot as the women moved through the blackened rooms.
The priest had given them cow dung to eat during the ceremony, they said, telling them it would purify them. ‘We were doing that, but we were crying,’ Jaspina said…
Christian leaders, though, have accused the authorities of dragging their feet, claiming they are reluctant to antagonise the majority Hindu community in the run-up to parliamentary elections next year.
Relations between the Hindu and Christian communities were already at a low ebb when the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on 23 August provided the trigger for the current wave of violence. The VHP blamed Christians and the mobs descended on the homes of neighbours and friends. Those who were too slow to get away were killed. Amid the savagery, two incidents stood out: a young Hindu woman working in a Christian orphanage was burnt alive and a nun was gang-raped.
Yet the VHP is unrepentant and appears to be involved, at least at grassroots level, with the campaign of forced conversions. One priest who converted 18 Christians in the village of Sankarakhole last week told The Observer that he had been approached by local VHP representatives to carry out the ceremony.
‘The VHP people came with letters that said they wanted to be converted, so I converted them,’ said Preti Singh Patra, who is the brother of a senior VHP official…
It is a landscape scarred by the ugly remains of homes and churches which lie shattered between other houses still inhabited and unscathed, those belonging to Kandhamal’s Hindus.
A few miles down the road from Sankarakhole, in the village of Minia, Sujata Digal, 38, stood outside her own burnt-out home. The mob had arrived at 3am, she said. She and her husband Hari hid in the forest and watched the house burn. When they came out of the forest, the mob returned and told them to convert, and it was not a hard decision.
‘They said, ‘If you don’t become Hindu, we’ll burn your houses too and start killing you’,’ said Ashish Digal, the former Christian pastor. ‘I’ve been forced to convert. Everyone is being converted. They beat us in the fields. I went to the temple. We had to say that we belonged to the Hindu state of Orissa, and that from this day we are Hindus.’
Before the violence started, Christians outnumbered Hindus in Minia: now 115 have converted, roughly half of their original number. The rest have fled.
Burn your Bibles, the men told Ashish Digal…
In fact, the VHP offered cash rewards for Hindus who would kill Christians…a pastor’s head is worth $250 a pop. The Times reports:
Hindu extremists’ reward to kill Christians…
Extremist Hindu groups offered money, food and alcohol to mobs to kill Christians and destroy their homes, according to Christian aid workers in the eastern state of Orissa…
The US-based head of a Christian organisation that runs several orphanages in Orissa – one of India’s poorest regions – claims that Christian leaders are being targeted by Hindu militants and carry a price on their heads. “The going price to kill a pastor is $250 (£170),” Faiz Rahman, the chairman of Good News India, said.
A spokesman for the All-India Christian Council said: “People are being offered rewards to kill, and to destroy churches and Christian properties. They are being offered foreign liquor, chicken, mutton and weapons. They are given petrol and kerosene.”…
Orissa has suffered a series of murders and arson attacks in recent months, with at least 67 Christians killed, according to the Roman Catholic Church. Several thousand homes have been razed and hundreds of places of worship destroyed, and crops are now wasting in the fields.
Burning Bibles and giving money to kill apostates? Imagine how Robert Spencer et al. would smear all of Islam if this were Muslims doing this. He would make it seem as if Muslims are the only ones who have their share of wackos. Remember how Spencer always points to Muslim fundamentalists who want to kill those who insult their prophet? Well, how about this here, straight from the Hindu Agenda:
Insulting any religion and Hindu culture, faith, convictions, traditions and reverential characters through the electronic media and print media would be treated as an offence and it would be enforced strictly.
The penalty? Death. In fact, you don’t need to insult the Hindu religion to be killed by these fundamentalists. Eating a hamburger will do the trick. The Hindu Agenda declares:
Killing of any animal including cow at any stage within the borders of Bharat should be declared as a stringently punishable crime by passing a strong and competent law for the purpose.
What is that “stringent” punishment? Death by lynching. Dhananjay Tripathi of the Indian news agency Meri News reports:
The Hindu fundamentalists always defend themselves and their acts by coining terms like ‘minority appeasement’, ‘Hindu rights’ and claim to be the real sons of the soil. The real sons of the soil have license to burn down churches, bring down mosques and kill Muslims, Dalits and Christians anywhere in the nation. The hooligans and lumpen activists belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) are involved in most of the atrocities perpetrated on the minorities and Dalits. VHP has a history of spreading venom and inciting mass violence.
In 2002, the VHP lynched five Dalits in Haryana for following their traditional trade of leather-tanning, as revealed by a dead cow in their possession. Over a carcass, the VHP killed innocent Dalit youths in Jhajhhar. VHP shamelessly defended this heinous crime when their leaders, Griraj Kishore said, “according to our shastras, the life of a cow is very precious (shastron ke hisab se gau ka jeevan bahut moolya hai)”. This statement makes it clear that for VHP, human life has no meaning.
Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller lose their minds when a Muslim man serves halal food in his own diner, yet don’t blink twice when the VHP (a group whose video they promote on their websites) calls for all citizens–regardless of religion–to follow Hindu dietary restrictions, demanding everyone to become vegetarian or be killed.
Spencer is constantly clamoring about how Islam itself does not allow conversion out of the faith (a very dubious claim at best). Yet, when there is clear evidence that the VHP’s interpretation of Hinduism is actively killing Hindus who don’t “convert back”, Spencer doesn’t seem to care. Are these Indian Christians not “Christian enough” for Spencer? Or are they simply expendable in his polemical war against Islam?
What does Spencer have to say about this? Nothing. In fact, his silence is deafening. That’s because the people who are terrorizing Christians are not Muslims. So, he could care less. Not only that, he is cheering on this young Hindu girl associated with the VHP because she threatened to wipe Pakistan off the map. It doesn’t matter to him that in the same breath she threatens Christians as well. Or that she belongs to a genocidal group that wants to efface Christianity from India.
The VHP not only preaches hatred against Muslims and Christians, but wants to institutionalize it. Human Rights Watch writes:
Their revivalist campaign includes the “Hinduization” of education, including the revision of history books to include hate propaganda against Islamic and Christian communities.
Hate propaganda? Maybe they can use Spencer’s Jihad Watch website and Geller’s Atlas Shrugs site to find inspiration for half of that equation.
The hate propaganda promoted by the VHP resulted in pogroms against both Muslims and Christians. Spencer and Geller reproduced it on their sites, and the video blended in completely with the rest of the rhetoric on their sites. This is why we here at LoonWatch stress the dangerous nature of their hate-filled discourse. It results in ethnic violence, death and destruction. The only difference between the VHP’s hate propaganda and Spencer et al.’s is the fact that the former targets Muslims and Christians whereas the latter only targets Muslims. That’s it.
Spencer and Geller are using the same language as that of a genocidal group. They might try to deny it now and argue that they didn’t know what group the video they posted belonged to. That’s not a viable excuse for them, however, since the video itself explicitly mentions genocidal ideas in it. The brainwashed girl in the VHP video declares:
…Soon our whole nation [of Hindustan] will rise. When our people rise up, it will be very difficult for you [Pakistanis]. It will be disastrous for every inch of your land…Kashmir will continue to exist, but not Pakistan. Who [amongst you] will voice such concerns? Who will show the braveness to use the atom bombs we have [against Pakistan]? Ask them [the Indian government] who is going to use the [atomic] weapons we have? Whom are they waiting for? Don’t worry what is happening now. History is where it is. We have the capacity to change the geography of the world [by wiping out Pakistan]…everything between [the Pakistani cities of] Karachi to Rawalpindi will become worthless…There won’t be any Pakistan! If you continue to believe this, I assure you that Pakistan won’t be present in the world for long.
So Spencer and Geller explicitly supported genocidal remarks. Their only “mistake” was inadvertently promoting a video that belonged to a group that also had such ideas about Christians, not just Muslims.
This is of course not the first time that Spencer and Geller have flirted with genocide. In fact, Spencer had joined a genocidal Facebook group, one which advocated the complete eradication of 150 million Muslims in Turkey. Geller, meanwhile, explicitly supports the genocidal ideas of the Hindu extremist girl, and argues that Israel should nuke Mecca, Medina, and Tehran.
1. Muslims are not the only ones with zealots There are Hindu extremists such as the ones we discussed above, Christian extremists who kill hundreds of children suspected of being witches, Jewish extremists who burn mosques and call for the killing of Gentiles and their babies, and of course Islamic extremists. They exist in every religion, and it’s wrong to demonize any one of them. (For the record, this article is not meant to denigrate Hinduism or Indians; the Hindu extremists above do not represent the entire faith or country. In fact, many Hindu Indians want to live in a pluralistic and democratic state.)
2. Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are completely discredited and vitriolic hate-mongers, who flirt with genocidal ideas. (Yes, I’m being Captain Obvious here.)