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Stop tax exemption status to US Hindu 'far-right hate group', demands diaspora coalition

By Our Representative

A coalition of human rights organizations in the United States have filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as the attorney generals of Texas and Mississippi, calling for an investigation into the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF), a Texas-based Hindu far-right hate group. GHHF activities should be precluded “from receiving tax-exempt status” as its “hateful activities fall well outside the scope of those governing charitable or religious institutions”, said a media communique issued by the coalition.
Filed jointly by a coalition of human rights groups and interfaith organizations, including the Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, the Council on American Islamic Relations DFW Chapter, the North American Manipur Tribal Association, the Ambedkarite Buddhist Association of Texas and the World Without Genocide, it says that GHHF “attracted significant press attention in December 2022 when it hosted a fundraiser in Frisco, Texas, to help pay for the demolition of Churches in India.”
Having investigated GHHF’s activities since this disturbing event, “coalition attorneys have discovered that the organization has also used U.S. dollars to fund; the closure of Muslim businesses in India; the promotion of anti-Muslim and anti-Christian conspiracy theories; the promotion of prominent anti-Muslim Indian politicians in the U.S; and the forcible conversion of Muslims and Christians in India”, the communique said.
Noting that the group “organized protests with the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), both Hindu militant groups responsible for organizing violence against Muslims and Christians in India”, and that it also maintains “ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s ruling Hindu nationalist political party”, the coalition quoted one of its partners, IAMC’s executive director Rasheed Ahmed as stating that “the IRS and U.S. government must not, in any way, assist an overt hate group in its mission of funding anti-Muslim and anti-Christian campaigns in India.”
“The activities of GHHF clearly violate existing laws governing non-profit groups and its tax-exempt status helps it to further hate abroad. GHHF’s tax-exempt status should be immediately revoked,” he added.
It also quoted the Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, which said, GHHF has collaborated with Cow Vigilante groups in India which “attack and kill Muslims who they believe are transporting cattle or beef. They have also orchestrated a number of aggressive letter-writing campaigns urging various Indian states to ban Muslim prayer, close Muslim businesses, prevent the hiring of Christians, and prevent Muslims from entering Hindu temples.”
“In 2022, the group successfully urged temple officials and local police in Andhra Pradesh to expel Muslim vendors from the area surrounding the temple. As a result, 13 shops belonging to Muslims were closed”, the coalition said, adding, in recent GHHF blogs “recount letters the group has sent to Indian police officials, urging them to remove Muslim vendors from other areas. Similarly, in 2020, the group petitioned to have an Andhra Pradesh hospital inquire into the religious faiths of all their employees so that they could remove all Christian nurses.”
It further said, GHHF leadership has also disseminated vitriolic texts demonizing Muslims and Christians. The organization has described “Islam as ‘the enemy of the humanity incompatible with ‘democracy and humanity,’ the ‘root of terrorism,’ and alleges that the Quran promotes ‘violence, terror, torture, beheading, and killing.’” Similarly, the group posted an article on its website describing Jesus as “vicious, detestable, despicable, angry, wrathful, hateful, and a killer.”
Accordidng to the coalition, GHHF has publicly advocated that “India should declare itself to be a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu state),” meaning a nation where other religions are considered second-class citizens. Overseas schools funded by GHHF have promoted the work of some of the most virulent Hindu nationalist ideologues, including VD Savarkar, who encouraged the use of sexual violence against Muslim women. 
Referring to the GHHF website, it said, the group heavily promotes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, like “love jihad,” in India and the Indian-American diaspora alike on internet. “According to Time Magazine, love jihad is a baseless conspiracy theory that claims Muslim men are tricking Hindu women into marriages for the sole purpose of later converting them to Islam. The term has been used by Hindu nationalists in India to police, incite, and commit violence against Muslim men in interfaith relationships.”
It quoted a recent blog post from August 2023, where GHHF stated, “Global Hindu Heritage Foundation is trying to educate Hindu girls about love jihad where Muslim boys trap the Hindu girls, marry them, convert the, force them to accept their customs, abuse them, rape them, allow them to be gangraped, and torture them and even kill them... It is very, very, common for Muslim men to lie, lie and lie.”
“They’ve been described as a hate group because they foment violence and support the demolition of churches. This type of nationalist ideology does damage to everybody else,” said Mustafaa Carroll, interim executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ D-FW chapter, in the media communique.
"The allegations against the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation are deeply troubling from a human rights perspective. At Hindus for Human Rights, we believe in the dignity and equality of all individuals, regardless of their faith. The activities attributed to GHHF, if true, are in stark violation of these principles. We stand with IAMC in calling for an IRS investigation to determine GHHF's compliance with the legal standards required of charitable organizations," said HfHR executive director Sunita Vishwanath.
"The hateful rhetoric against Christians displayed by the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation on their website, as reported in the Dallas Morning News on December 13, 2022 following a fundraiser in Frisco to raise money to demolish churches in India, is anathema to the values of the American and the Indian constitution. The North American Manipur Tribal Association, a non-profit that was formed in Texas when the founders' Indian families' homes and churches were burned by a violent mob in the city of Imphal in Manipur, India, stands against hate and rhetoric which can drive normal people to hateful actions against their fellow human beings," added NAMTA president Florence Lowe.

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