Exposing lies in Zaid Jilani’s Alternet article on Tulsi Gabbard
Jilani’s article is a Hinduphobic piece singling Tulsi out for her religion for saying things that the founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values and moderate Muslims agree with her on:
“If one wants to examine the absurd lengths as to where the PC Police have taken us, one needs to go no further than the misrepresentation of Rep (D) Tulsi Gabbard as an Islamophobe! This is the same war veteran and Congresswoman who has advocated AGAINST the regime change policies in Iraq, Syria and Libya — all Muslim majority countries.
Simply talking about extremism within some sections of the Muslim Community does not make one an Islamophobe. Congresswoman Tulsi does not adopt broad bush tactics. Her discourse is clear, nuanced and to the point. I would know since I am a Muslim. Rep Gabbard’s statements in favour of Muslims who sacrificed their lives for speaking out against extremism is a testament to her sincerity and support to the Larger Muslim community.
.. American Muslims are lucky to have some like Tulsi in Congress who has publically opposed regime change intervention in Muslim majority countries. Let’s support her as opposed to making absurb and unfounded correlations “
- Jilani peddles outright lies and half truths to make his case:
- Half Truths: Jilani would have you believe Tulsi was the only person to oppose HR 417, when in reality it was opposed by a bipartisan group of congresspeople on the foreign affairs committee (including many stalwart supporters of religious rights) for trying to influence India’s election’s. The resolution, introduced in Nov 2013, praised the U.S. State Department’s 2005 decision to deny Modi a visa (a ban originally pushed through by right wing US and Indian evangelicals) because of his alleged “egregious religious freedom violations”. This is despite the fact that in 2012, India’s Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team probe found no “prosecutable evidence” against Modi for those allegations. Fareed Zakaria, an Indian American Muslim, called the ban “selective, arbitrary and excessive.” As Zakaria wrote, Modi had been cleared by several investigative bodies in India for any culpability in the Gujarat riots, and continuing the ban was not only against the crucial U.S. and India relationship, it was wrong.
- It is also interesting that HR417 was introduced in the House by Joe Pitts, who was funded illegally by Pakistan’s secret service. Coincidentally Jilani is a Pakistani American, who has no trouble talking about Hindu extremist ideology (double standard much?), which Tulsi has also acknowledged.
- In opposing HR417, Tulsi said on April 4, 2014:
I do not believe the timing of this hearing is a coincidence. The national elections in India begin on Monday and continue until May 12. I am concerned that the goal of this hearing is to influence the outcome of India’s national elections, which is not an appropriate role for the US Congress. Such interference with India’s elections would undermine our shared goals.
The United States of America should always stand for religious freedom for all people in all countries and should always work to that end. In this regard, we need to be especially careful not to directly or indirectly contribute to sectarian strife in India or other countries. I am concerned that this hearing is an attempt to foment fear and loathing purely for political purposes, and that it’s being done to influence India’s national elections. This is wrong and it will contribute to further sectarian division in India and will undermine the national interests of the United States.
I look forward to the conversation that we have in a way that will be constructive, both for our shared interests with India, but also to make sure that we are fighting against religious persecution in all countries.”
- Lies: Then the author goes on to imply US India PAC is some kind of BJP group, when in reality it contributes to Indian Americans and people supportive of India and has existed since long before BJP came to power in India. It has supported people of different religions including Pramila Jayapal, Kamala Harris (Christian — Baptist), Ami Bera (Christian — Unitarian Universalism), Raja Krishnamoorthi, Dhillon (Sikh) etc.
- Muslims have contributed the maximum allowed to Tulsi— Example, and even held fundraisers for her, so the argument that she’s influenced to speak about Islamic extremism because of contributions from BJP supporters is total bullshit. A vast majority of US based Indians who supported the BJP in India’s elections and continue to support them now are people who were motivated by their pro-US, economic and good governance message, not the Hindu extremist stuff. According to US based Pew research, Modi has a 88% approval rating among Indians, while Hindu extremists form a tiny percentage of Hindus in India. In fact all Hindus form <80% of India’s population.
- Promoting US-India ties —Tulsi has also met with critics of the BJP, like Shashi Tharoor and spokesperson for the BJP’s main opposition, Rajeev Gowda to promote US India ties, in her role on the Foreign Affairs Committee (Asia & Pacific subcommittee). Obama met Modi an unprecedented eight times in two years for the same.
- More lies: Then the article says she was the only Dem to support an anti-online gambling bill that allegedly benefits Adelson. If anyone bothers to click on the link included in that article, you will find it’s supported by other Dem’s too, but more important, the bill is supported by Hawaii’s attorney general. I’m sure that had absolutely nothing to do with Hawaii’s representative sponsoring it! Her co-sponsor is from Utah, whose AG also supports the bill. She has also received no contributions from Adelson and has opposed Adelson’s call for deposing Assad vehemently and repeatedly, even introducing legislation to stop it.
- The author seems like the bigot for writing such Hinduphobic slander on Tulsi when she has repeatedly make statements similar to the following even on Fox news and before Jilani wrote his article:
“The majority of Muslims are practicing the spiritual path of Islam within their own lives in a pluralistic, peaceful way. So by calling organizations like ISIS Islamic or Islamist extremists, we are making a distinction between the vast majority of Muslims who are not extremists and a handful of those who are”
Support of the Muslim community:
- Tulsi was invited to be the keynote speaker by Muslims 4 Peace at the 10th Annual Prophet Mohammed Day at Rutgers University. I challenge anyone and everyone to watch her speech and say that Tulsi has anything but sincere love and respect for Muslims.
- Unlike the vast majority of leaders in America, Tulsi actually respects the Prophet Mohammed as a representative of God. This is a quote from her speech , “As a Vaishnava Hindu, a devotee of Sri Krishna, I recognize and respect both Jesus Christ and the Prophet Mohammed as messengers of God, messengers of love, peace, and universal brotherhood.”
- Tulsi treats Muslims with love and respect. Here’s Tulsi speaking with Muslim women in Syria:
Here’s Tulsi speaking with young Muslim women after her keynote speech for Muslims for Peace Prophet Mohammed Day:
5. championed legislation, including speaking on the House floor, in favor of vetted refugees from Muslim-majority Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s what one of the beneficiaries of this legislation had to say about Tulsi
Sham Hasan: I love Tulsi. She is one of the main reason that my Special Immigrant Visa Program was extended. She is very vocal and loudly honest since the very beginning.
7. has been called a “refreshingly strong voice for secularism and free expression” by secular organizations.
8. She also condemned violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States by cosponsoring H.Res.569.
9. Here’s what a Syrian-American Sunni Muslim wrote about her:
Gabbard has shown utmost concern and respect for our community, the Syrian people and for all new Americans, which is why so many Syrians at home and in the U.S. support her tireless efforts to bring peace to Syria.
Note: Regarding that shawl/scarf around her shoulders, it’s a common gift given at Indian events and I was able to google few other pictures of her with similar shawls. It would be rather ungraceful to check such a gift before accepting it, just like one wouldn’t inspect a garland before accepting it. Here’s some of those pictures