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Meet Joe Biden’s Muslim Outreach Coordinator: A Supporter Of Narendra Modi And His Islamophobic, Hindu Nationalist Agenda

Imagine a friend of the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan doing Black outreach. 

Hamzah Raza

Published

Joe Biden Modi

Once widely regarded as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden now finds himself in a struggling campaign. Nevertheless, despite poor performances in early states, many see Saturday’s South Carolina primary as his chance to bounce back. To a large part of the Democratic establishment, Biden is still the man who can replace Donald Trump, a widely unpopular president who has been a part of a wave of far-right Islamophobic heads of state around the world, from Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, to China’s Xi Jinping, to India’s Narendra Modi. 

Despite presenting himself as a liberal counterweight to this virulent wave of Islamophobia, Joe Biden has hired as his Muslim outreach coordinator, Amit Jani, an avid supporter of Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist agenda. 

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In 2002, Modi, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, presided over a massacre of Muslims in the province, by inciting religious violence, which resulted in the death of nearly 2000 civilians, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. This was some of the most gruesome religious violence ever seen in an independent India. 

When asked if he regretted the violence, Modi compared it to feeling bad over accidentally running over a puppy. In 2005, Modi was subsequently banned from the United States based on his role in the Gujarat massacre, a ban that would persist for nearly a decade. It was only lifted in 2014 after Modi was elected Prime Minister of India. 

As Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) have continued these attacks on Muslims. On midnight of August 4th, 2019, Modi’s BJP-led government revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted Indian-occupied Kashmir, a disputed territory that is majority-Muslim, special status and internal autonomy. By stripping Kashmir of such status, Modi has opened the door to a brutal military occupation of the Kashmiri people. This occupation has stripped Kashmir of its internet, landline, and cell phone access, implementing a blackout that has deprived Kashmir of communicating with the outside world. This has particularly distressed Kashmiris living abroad by preventing them from communicating with their families living inside the region. Many abroad are unsure of the safety of their family members living in Kashmir, given Modi’s government’s escalated militarization of the region. 

Modi has also passed a Citizenship Amendment Act seeking to fast track Indian citizenship for religious minorities from neighboring Muslim-majority countries, while setting forth a plan requiring India’s 200 million Muslim citizens to undergo a citizenship registry, mirroring not only Trump’s call for a Muslim registry but also Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws, which targeted German Jews in what would lead up to the Holocaust. In the state of Assam, which has a large Muslim population, this registry has already been implemented. Residents must either prove or lose their citizenship. Those who have been unable to prove their citizenship are already being sent to detention camps.

For the past four days, the Indian capital of Delhi has been burning, masajid, markets cemeteries destroyed.  A preplanned state-sanctioned attack on peaceful protesters has resulted in a death toll of 35 and rising.

In the midst of Modi’s decades of Islamophobia, Biden’s Muslim outreach director, Amit Jani, has heaped praise on him. On the night of Modi’s election, Jani was in India, and posted a photo of himself wearing a BJP shirt on Facebook with the caption: “Loved the energy and jubilation throughout the state on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the Indian national elections! Proud of Deepti Jani[Amit Jani’s mother] for all the work you did during the campaign.” 

Amit Jani’s name appeared on the flyer for an August 21st event celebrating the removal of Article 370, opening the door to Modi’s annexation and communications blackout of Kashmir. Jani was listed on the organizing committee for the event. The keynote speaker at this celebration was Kailash Vijayvargiya, the National Secretary-General of the BJP, Narendra Modi’s political party. Vijayvargiya once claimed that Shah Rukh Khan, a famous Indian Muslim Bollywood actor is an “anti-nationalist” who “lives in India, but his heart is in Pakistan,” after Khan remarked that India is going through a period of extreme intolerance for religious minorities. 

On June 25th, 2017, Amit Jani also took a picture with Narendra Modi at a “community reception” in McLean, Virginia, the day before Trump’s “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston, which featured Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, before a crowd of 50,000 supporters. His mother, Deepti Jani, posted the photo of Jani and Modi with the caption: “Amit Jani with Respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” These are alongside other pictures on Amit Jani’s Facebook page heaping praise upon this Islamophobic leader.

In a Huffington Post article he wrote in 2014, Amit Jani spoke about the impact that Narendra Modi had on his family after he stayed at their Jersey City home when visiting the United States in 1993. He compared Modi to Barack Obama lamenting that “Modi and Obama have brought fresh voices and creative ideas to their governments, after many years of having increasingly unpopular and disconnected leaders in office.” One is led to question if Jani includes inciting hatred against religious minorities as part of these “fresh and creative ideas” of Modi.

Jani’s late father, Suresh Jani, founded the organization: Overseas Friends of the BJP in the United States. The organization sought to improve the image of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party in the United States, after incidents such as Modi’s denial of a visa to enter the US because of his complicity in the 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujrat.

The late Suresh Jani first met Narendra Modi at a gathering of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, an all-male, far-right paramilitary Hindu nationalist organization founded in 1925. Modi joined the organization when he was just 8 years old. It was banned in the first year of Indian Independence after an RSS member murdered Mahatma Gandhi because he believed that Gandhi was too favorable to India’s Muslims. 

The organization would be subsequently banned two times after that, from 1975 to 1977, and in the year 1992. The second leader of the RSS, M.S. Golwalkar was deeply inspired by Nazi Germany, which he said displayed “race pride at its highest” and was “a good lesson for use” in India. He even compared India’s Muslims to the Jews of pre-Nazi Germany. Golwalkar coined the term Hindutva and stated that India needed to become a Hindu Nationalist state. He said that India faced three “internal enemies” in reaching this goal: Muslims, Christians, and Communists. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi also oversaw the distribution of textbooks that praised Hitler, describing him as a leader “who lent dignity and prestige to the German government.” 

Islamophobia has threatened the well-being and fundamental human rights of hundreds of millions of Muslims on a global scale. This can be seen through Trump’s Muslim ban, the brutal military occupations of Kashmir and Palestine, China’s rounding up of Ughyur Muslims into concentration camps, and the Modi’s government stripping Indian Muslims of their citizenship. For Biden to confront this global tide of Islamophobia is not just important for the safeguarding of the rights of Muslims, but also important for safeguarding the rights of so many marginalized minority groups that are threatened by this rise of fascism and illiberal democracy.

For Amit Jani to be Muslim outreach coordinator for the Biden campaign is beyond insulting to America’s millions of Muslim Americans. At a minimum, the coordinator of Biden’s Muslim outreach should not be a man who praises one of the world’s leading Islamophobes. Modi presided over a massacre of Muslims, and since becoming head of state, has attempted to strip 200 million Muslims–in a country with the second-largest number of Muslims in the world–of their citizenship.

The Biden campaign’s hiring of Amit Jani as Muslim outreach coordinator would be analogous to a friend and supporter of the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan doing Black outreach. 

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Hamzah Raza is a graduate student at Harvard University and an alumnus of Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, he received highest honors for his thesis on the role that South African Muslims played in the anti-apartheid struggle. He has been previously been published at the Huffington Post, Alternet, the Grayzone Project, Raw Story, and the Tennessean. Follow him on Twitter @raza_hamzah

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Aziz Gilani

    February 27, 2020 at 10:22 PM

    The fact set you present is really damning. Did you attempt to get a comment or reaction from Jani?

    • Avatar

      Sksd in carlsbad

      March 6, 2020 at 2:22 PM

      Every one should have right to speak, at the same time willingness to listen. One without the other is just noise and should be ignored.

      Thanks.

  2. Avatar

    Adams

    February 28, 2020 at 10:22 AM

    Quick correction.
    First…He is not a Muslim outreach coordinator. There has been no position like this in Biden’s campaign.

    Second…It may not be as intentional as it may seem like it. This is a general problem with Indian community as they tend to have connection back home through temples and others. Joe may have overlooked this.

    Third and lastly…Joe is not Tulsi Gabbard or others in Bernie camp, who have not condemned the action of Assad or others. Nor has he praised dictators. Washington’s Center-Left democrats have been crucial in votes for banning people like Modi, pressuring Burma over Rohingya, etc. They never sold out Muslims, but these Tankies did.

  3. Avatar

    GregAbdul

    February 28, 2020 at 3:59 PM

    Often, I sort of go at the Brothers and Sister who write here and I sort of dismiss you as off the deep end. However this one is serious. Joe Biden is seeking to be President and today we have a racist man who was in India cheering as Muslims were beaten and killed. Clearly India today is being run by racist nationalist. If what you say here is true, it means we must as Muslims ALL stand against Biden his candidacy until he cleanses his staff and explains why Modi supporters are on his payroll. The internet is full of violent pic and videos of Muslims being beaten for no reason other than them being Muslim. This guy losing his position on this campaign is peanuts compared to what is happening to Muslims in India. Insha Allah we all stand up and at least demand being tossed to bone of this guy not having a path to work in and be tied to a Biden White house. Oh! I went to a Biden facebook page and asked….and the only answer I got was to tell me I am a hateful Muslim and obviously your website is lying and unreliable. Sounds like a future white bigot gathering to me!

  4. Avatar

    Aziz Gilani

    March 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM

    • Avatar

      Know The Truth

      March 4, 2020 at 6:37 PM

      I have noble intention of bringing out the truth, every coin has two sides, I wanted to bring the other side of story which this article lacks as it is collections of all skewed articles and paid writes news items in the west media as part of propaganda. I do not want my Muslims brothers to be angered by biased news and propaganda of west media. Both Hindus and Muslims died in almost equal numbers in Delhi riots. I love all including my Muslim brothers and want to reduce anxiety and hate being generated by west media.

  5. Avatar

    Muhamed Borogovac

    March 2, 2020 at 8:18 AM

    Biden was so friendly to Bosnia, when Bosnian Muslims needed help. He was the only one who mentioned during debates the horrible things that are happening in Myanmar, China etc. However, this is so bad, I do not know for who to vote any more.

  6. Avatar

    Muhammad Khan

    March 3, 2020 at 2:04 PM

    How can this guy be the Muslim Outreach coordinator? He himself is not a Muslim has Biden lost it or is this just fake news

  7. Avatar

    Sarwar Hussain

    March 3, 2020 at 7:42 PM

    This kind message doesn’t help Muslim agenda. Please stop this kind
    of negativity, which only helps Non Muslim agents and their purpose.

  8. Avatar

    MuslimsAreHuman2

    March 4, 2020 at 7:43 PM

    Troll alert!!! No facts, no figures.

    Article 370 and asking 200 million Indian Muslims to prove their citizenship alone shows the “program”. Don’t even get me started on Amit Shah. Only prejudice is BJP. Try better next time….

    • Avatar

      Friend of Humanity

      March 4, 2020 at 10:09 PM

      Sure brother Muslims are Human and deserve to be treated as such. It is easy to push aside any well meaning message as a troll. No political party is ideal, do you think Imran Khan is good to our Muslim brothers in Pakistan. Are people happy with him? Has he fulfilled all tall promises he made for his election?

      Coming to your question on Article 370; it only benefited two political families (Muftis and Abdullas) as they scammed all the money leaving common people poor. For past many of decades violence and exploitation of Kashmiris have left many dead. Even though removal of 370 seems suffocating due to internet blockage; I see that has been relaxed and now interenet and social media is restored in Kashmir.

      https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/social-media-ban-removed-in-kashmir-broadband-services-to-be-restored-2189956

      More over there are no death due to bomb exploitation that earlier use to be common and killed common people on street. Reports show situation is far safe now compared to what was before removal of 370.

      Below is news link of envoys from 25 countries visiting Kashmir on 15 Feb 2020. See the video in the news link and hear Afghanistan and Uganda envoys statements saying normalcy has returned to Kashmir.

      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/normalcy-is-almost-back-say-envoys-after-jk-trip/articleshow/74126177.cms

    • Avatar

      Friend of Humanity

      March 4, 2020 at 10:12 PM

      Sure brother Muslims are Human and deserve to be treated as such. It is easy to push aside any well meaning message as a troll. No political party is ideal, do you think Imran Khan is good to our Muslim brothers in Pakistan. Are people happy with him? Has he fulfilled all tall promises he made for his election?

      Coming to your question on Article 370; it only benefited two political families (Muftis and Abdullas) as they scammed all the money leaving common people poor. For past many of decades violence and exploitation of Kashmiris have left many dead. Even though removal of 370 seems suffocating due to internet blockage; I see that has been relaxed and now interenet and social media is restored in Kashmir.

      More over there are no death due to bomb exploitation that earlier use to be common and killed common people on street. Reports show situation is far safe now compared to what was before removal of 370.

      Envoys from 25 countries visited Kashmir on 15 Feb 2020. They gave statements saying normalcy has returned to Kashmir.

      • Avatar

        Sawanti

        March 5, 2020 at 1:51 AM

        Friend of humanity. It’s a clear prove on BBC that police was helping the radical Hindus to beat Muslims they were beaten so so brutally, they smashed their skulls crushed their internal organs , those Muslims did nothing to harm Hindus . India has become a terorist nation , killing poor Muslims for no reason .

        • Avatar

          Friend Of Humanity

          March 5, 2020 at 10:03 AM

          Please don’t believe everything west media shows. I also watch Indian news channels and media where Muslims equally participate in debates on issues freely and openly. You should follow Delhi riot reports. To see other side of coin to see complete truth, check out opindia.com and also youtube videos related to Delhi riots videos and news. Dont just rely on west media which is not always fair, we know about this from experience. Search google for Tahir Hussain Delhi riots, you would get better picture. Just for your information, both Hindus and Muslims died in almost equal numbers in Delhi Riots. Violence and hate should never be accepted in any civilized society. Muslims deserve full respect and love.

  9. Avatar

    Inaya

    March 4, 2020 at 9:02 PM

    In other words, “world is not such a bad place if we just ignore the BKP and RSS?”

    You have got to be freaking kidding me. ??

  10. Avatar

    Abdullah

    March 8, 2020 at 3:53 PM

    We are missing the point and the goal – there is no place for Terrorists and Indians who support Nazi ideology in American politics. It does not matter that this Indian is posing as a Muslim Outreach Coordinator or not; what matters is that he is part of the Biden campaign — his racist ideology and background should disqualify him from being part of ANY party that claims to represent the American people

  11. Avatar

    Mohan

    April 6, 2020 at 2:06 AM

    tch…. tch.., always portraying Muslims as victims and hiding their sins. why don’t you ask yourself why riots in Gujarat happened in the first place? How Islamic terrorists burned alive Hindu priests, women and children. why do you try to hide that gore?. where are your condemning articles when scores of Hindu and Sikh women are kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men with out consent in neighboring countries of India? where are sympathies when Hindus of Kashmir are harassed and pogroms are carried out against them by Islamic fundamentalists? and that slogans like “Hindu women should left for Muslim men” were announced from loud speakers in mosques.
    where is your outrage then?

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