By all accounts, the meetings earlier this week between President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were productive, mutually beneficial and—as Vice President Mike Pence put it—historic.
But, there was one part of those meetings that was kept behind closed doors: the widespread persecution of religious minorities, particularly Christians, by Hindu extremists closely aligned with Modi's political party. Although the issue was brought up—more than once according to White House sources—it was never addressed publicly, and that has the Federation of Indian-American Christians "very disappointed" in the president.
The Federation of Indian-American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) released the following statement following Modi's return to India:
FIACONA is happy to note that President Trump raised concerns about anti-Christian policies and the Hindu radical vigilantism carried out by Prime Minister Modi's supporters against innocent people across India in a private meeting with him Monday at the White House.
However, FIACONA is deeply disappointed that the president, who emphasized the need to eradicate Islamic radicalism in public, missed a historic opportunity to speak out openly against the devastating impact Hindu radicalism has on Christians in India.
Hindu radicals feel emboldened now that they know they could bleed the church and get away with it because no one would question them.
History would judge President Trump harshly for this omission to speak out openly in support of a 2000-year-old church that is bleeding in the hands of the man he hosted Monday at the White House.
American people fully understand the urgency in fighting radical Islamic fundamentalism; however, if that is done at the expense of fighting Hindu radicalism, which is posing an imminent danger to the well-being of Christians, it may not bode well for our nation nor will it be consistent with our long-time commitment to the values we so cherish.
Modi's government has been actively shutting down Christian worship places and social organizations at an alarming rate.
Christendom, which expected President Trump to be on the right side of the history, is seen as abandoning the lives of over 300 million Christians and other non-Hindus for short term gains.
The vulnerable Indian Christian population that has been bleeding under the radical Hindu extremism feels let down by President Trump.
In Modi's India today, bigotry is masquerading as nationalism, creative freedom being proscribed, freedom of speech and expression being brutally crushed by the state and the Institutions of democracy slowly being undermined by Modi whom our president called a "true friend."
It is about time the U.S. administration realizes that the so-called bond based on shared ideals is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. The man who is presiding over this historic wrong in India cannot be a friend of anyone, let alone our president. The president's reluctance to openly speak for the persecuted church is a great concern for the American people who elected him to office.
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