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Indian American politician Tulsi Gabbard. (Photo Credit - Instagram)
Indian American politician Tulsi Gabbard. (Photo Credit - Instagram)

Republicans, Democrats must condemn smear campaign against Indo-American politicians

ANI | Updated: May 03, 2022 12:55 IST


Washington [US], May 3 (ANI): The Indian Americans are facing smear campaigns in the US amid allegations that they harbour extremists rooted in dual loyalty, which calls for condemnation from the Democrats and Republicans.
Michael Rubin, writing in Washington Examiner, said that the charges of fascism and links to extremists against Indian Americans are tenuous, based not on substance but instead on multiple degrees of separation and insinuation.
Anti-India gadfly Pieter Friedrich has accused the likes of former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D - Ill.), congressional candidate Rishi Kumar, Department of Homeland Security adviser Sonal Shah, and a host of local candidates of having links to Indian intelligence, political parties, or extremists.
"Today, Hindus have become the new Catholics and Jews. Both Catholics and Jews were sidelined due to dual loyalty. In the run-up to the Iraq War, conspiracies spread that a desire to protect Israel rather than the US motivated Jews in the Bush administration to advocate war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Even the late Secretary of State Colin Powell often used such tactics to win interagency battles," said Rubin.
Friedrich sets up websites smearing Indian American politicians. While dirty tricks are not infrequent in politics, what sets Friedrich's campaign apart is that ethnicity and religion rather than political position are the common link.

He does not differentiate, for example, between Padma Kuppa, a Democrat and the first Indian immigrant and Hindu to hold a seat in the Michigan Legislature, and Niraj Antani, a conservative Ohio Republican, who was the youngest Hindu to be elected to a state senate.
When the target is a staffer rather than an elected official, Friedrich sets up petitions demanding their firing. This was the case, for example, with Shah or former Ambassador Atul Keshap, reported Washington Examiner.
In the heat of a campaign, some local party officials, including those of South Asian backgrounds, turn a blind eye to the slander if it gives their preferred candidate a leg up. This is a mistake and only legitimizes bigotry as a political weapon, said Rubin.
It may also open the door for greater foreign interference. Friedrich is a nodal point for growing support for Sikh separatism in India, which appears to have its genesis in Pakistan. He has no clear and transparent source of income that explains the resources he brings to his campaigns against Indian American politicians.
Despite the demonization with which some Democratic and Republican activists approach the other side, the cores of both parties, and even the most progressive and conservative activists, draw a line at religious bigotry. Politicians should not throw Hindus under the bus to avoid manufactured controversy. It is time Republicans and Democrats jointly condemn the slander.
And they should not be alone. Catholics and Jews, who have, at times, also experienced cheap bigotry in political discourse, should stand behind them to ensure that the cost of such tactics is felt not by their targets but by their perpetrators, said Rubin. (ANI)

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