More than 40 Islamic organisations and peak bodies across Australia have sent an open letter to PM Anthony Albanese expressing their grave concern about rising religious persecution in India of its Muslim minority.
The letter, dated August 14, said: “Over the past week, there have been several disturbing instances where minority groups, specifically Muslim migrant workers, students and business owners have reportedly been targeted by far-right Hindu extremists.
“This wave of violence has included physical assaults, attacks on businesses, lynching and tragically, several deaths. In one horrifying incident, a mosque was set ablaze leading to the death of its Imam, and in another, a Railways Protection Force constable shot dead three Muslim passengers on a train.
“In addition to these already disturbing circumstances, certain Indian news channels have begun promoting what they term as a ‘final solution’ to what they perceive as a ‘Muslim problem’.
“This alarming rhetoric has led academics to voice serious concerns, suggesting that such language could potentially be signalling a preparation for a genocide against India's Muslim minority.”
The open letter called on Labor to appeal to Indian PM Narendra Modi “to take immediate, comprehensive measures to put an end to these ongoing human rights violations”.
It also urged the federal government to include human rights clauses in future trade agreements with India.
The open letter was organised and driven by Alliance Against Islamophobia and the letter was also sent to foreign affairs minister Penny Wong. The signatories included Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, the Australian National Imam Council, the Alliance of Australian Muslims and the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV).
The ICV said on August 15 that Australia must use its “considerable influence” to pressure the Indian government to stop the daily persecution of Muslims and other minorities.
It said Albanese had rolled out the red carpet for Modi, hailed him as “the boss” (a reference to Bruce Springsteen’s rock star status) and claimed Modi had “brought the spirit of the world’s biggest democracy to Australia”.
“The sight of Indian warships in Sydney Harbour recently for the ‘Quad’ navy exercises starkly underlined how closely Australia has aligned itself with the world’s most populous nations (over 1.4 billion people, now surpassing China).
The ICV said while the relationship is said to be based on “shared values”, this was not matched by the reality in India where the rule of law is not being upheld, minorities are being attacked and the government is “complicit in the perpetration of extreme supremacist narratives”.
“Australia cannot continue to make the mistakes of the past by putting economic and security interests ahead of the human rights of persecuted people around the world,” the ICV said.