HAF testified April 30 before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on “Bangladesh’s Fracture: Political and Religious Extremism.” (photo courtesy HAF)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hindu American Foundation testified April 30 before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, on the violence often faced by religious minorities in Bangladesh.
The subcommittee hearing titled “Bangladesh’s Fracture: Political and Religious Extremism” examined the conditions of the violent political impasse in Bangladesh that began in 2013 and the ongoing human rights abuses against Hindus and other religious minorities.
Asia Subcommittee chairman Matt Salmon was joined by ranking member Brad Sherman in making opening remarks. Also in attendance were Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Grace Meng, Steve Chabot, Scott Perry, and William Keating.
All members of the subcommittee expressed deep concern with the growing political instability and infighting between the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party along with its Islamist coalition partner, Jamaat-e-Islami.
Representatives Sherman and Gabbard also specifically noted concern with the expanding climate of intolerance as well as the plight of Hindus and other religious minorities.
Jay Kansara, HAF director of Government Relations, conveyed details of his recent fact-finding mission to Bangladesh on behalf of the foundation in his testimony. The trip was part of HAF’s larger human rights efforts, and its annual report, in which the particular plight of Bangladeshi Hindus and other minorities has been highlighted for well over a decade.
“During this trip, we met with dozens of civil society leaders, human rights activists, and minority groups, as well as three members of Parliament, all of whom expressed serious concern with the rising tide of religious intolerance and extremism, and a burgeoning threat of pro-ISIS activity in the country,” said Kansara.