Saturday, October 3, 2009

Letter from the Hindu American Foundation to Anwar Ibrahim

The letter from HAF..

Honorable Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Opposition Leader and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

Dear Mr. Anwar Ibrahim,
Malaysia has already been a country of particular concern for our Foundation in light of the numerous Hindu temple destructions, custodial battles in Shariah courts involving at least one Hindu parent, the arrest and persecution of Hindu-Malaysian leaders, and Bumiputra laws that discriminate against the minority communities.
More recently, we wrote to Ambassador Karuppannan to protest the vulgar, religiously provocative, and racially incendiary act by a Muslim-Malaysian mob demanding that the government rescind the orders for relocating
the Sri Mariamman temple in Section 23 of Shah Alam. The countenance by local police of Muslim provocative acts is added cause for alarm in a country that is already facing volatile racial and religious issues. We are gravely concerned about the law and order situation in the country, and the state's unwillingness to firmly clamp down on the religious bigotry of the Muslim majority. Such tensions only bring about a greater sense of insecurity amongst the Hindu residents.
The Hindu American Foundation is pleased to have noted your concern about the “Arabisation” of Malaysia. Therefore, we hope that you will pressure the Malaysian government and Malaysia’s state and local officials to do
more to protect the rights of Hindu Malaysians and to ensure that Hindu temples will not be desecrated or destroyed. We also urge you to do more to ensure full equality for all Malaysians by ending discrimination in the
allocation of public funds and land for places of worship between Muslim and minority religious groups.

We also urge you to work for repeal of the Internal Security Act and not allow peaceful Hindu protestors to be detained under this repressive Act.
Our Foundation has made the following recommendations to the U.S. and British governments and human rights groups:

1) Religious freedom should be allowed and encouraged for ethnic Malays and the minority religious populations in the country.

2) Religious minorities should not be forced to deal with the country’s Islamic Sharia’s courts.

3) The United States, United Nations, the international community, and human rights groups should pressure the Malaysian government to protect Hindu temples from desecration and destruction. Hindu places of worship that existed prior to independence should be designated as temple property and title to
the land should be handed to the respective temple trustees/committees as has been done for preindependence era mosques.

4) The Malaysian Government should be urged to not discriminate in the allocation of public funds and land for places of worship between Muslim and minority religious groups.

5) The Internal Security Act must be repealed and Hindu leaders prosecuted under the repressive Act should be immediately released.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is an advocacy group providing a progressive voice for over two million Hindu Americans. The Foundation interacts with and educates leaders in public policy, academia,media and the public at large about Hinduism and global issues concerning Hindus, such as religious
liberty, the portrayal of Hinduism, hate speech, hate crimes and human rights. By promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism, HAF stands firmly against hate, discrimination,defamation and terror. The Hindu American Foundation is not affiliated with any religious or political
organizations or entities. HAF seeks to serve Hindu Americans across all sampradayas (Hindu religious traditions).

I would be pleased to meet further to discuss the issues concerning our Foundation and other human rights groups about Malaysia and to hear your views.

Mihir Meghani, M.D.
President and member of the Board of Directors,
The Hindu American Foundation