Afghanistan, Pakistan & Bangladesh Articles Bangladesh

Strange silence on Islamist terror

Richard L Benkin

Obama should have spoken up for the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh who face terrible atrocities. But he has chosen to remain stunningly silent on South Asia’s ‘Hindu Holocaust’

There is growing concern in the United States over President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, especially in South Asia and West Asia. Although Mr Obama still enjoys media support and spillover goodwill from the election, more Americans are questioning his policies’ wisdom. He is alienating friends and trying to woo enemies; pushing away his strongest allies in the war against Islamist extremism, Israel and India, and pretending that nations behind global jihad (Iran and Pakistan) will help defeat it.

Even members of his own party are wary. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently appeared before the US House Appropriations Committee to deliver the Obama line on Israel, it was Democrat Nita Lowey (along with Republican Mark Kirk) who replied that if the Administration was going to tie Israel’s hands, the House would counter by “restricting aid to the Palestinian Authority”.

Missing in the debate thus far has been concern for the developing ‘Hindu Holocaust’ in South Asia. In several policy pronouncements numerous speeches about the situation in South Asia, Mr Obama never once mentioned the human rights disaster that is rapidly bringing an end to the remaining Pakistani Hindu community. Nor has protecting 13,000,000 Bangladeshi Hindus ever figured in his grand design for South Asia.

While President Obama speaks of the need for international support and regional cooperation, he never once suggested that international aid be sent to care for the thousands of Pakistani Hindus who have been streaming into Indian Punjab. He has never challenged human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to investigate regularly-reported atrocities against Bangladeshi Hindus and the ensuing refugee nightmare; nor has he ever suggested that Bangladesh’s Vested Property Act is a racist law that is incompatible with his vision of peace in South Asia.

 

To be sure, the destruction of Pakistan’s Hindus has taken several decades, and it has taken three decades to reduce Hindus from under one in five Bangladeshis to under one in 10; so, silence about it cannot be laid at Mr Obama’s feet alone. But in Mr Barack Obama, Americans have a leader with a grand scheme for what he expects to be the future of South Asia to be — evidently a South Asia that tolerates anti-Hindu ethnic cleansing by Muslim radicals. At the very least, Mr Obama should be demanding help for the victims — no less so than that given the ‘Palestinian refugees’ who have an entire UN agency devoted to them.

Evidence of atrocities continues to pour in almost daily. If the US and India tolerate it, we can hardly expect the weak civilian Governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh to act. In March, I interviewed several victims in West Bengal myself. Most poignant was the testimony of a Hindu family that had crossed into India only 22 days earlier with their 14-year-old daughter who told me about being gang-raped by Islamist radicals in Bangladesh. The ‘Hindu Holocaust’ is real and it is happening now. Will an outraged world act or do what it normally does and cry for the victims only after their death?

 

In 1941, Western Allies began getting intelligence about the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews and others. Some initially dismissed the reports but eventually recognised their veracity. In the end, though, they said the best way to help the victims was to win the war and so did nothing. If that’s Mr Obama’s guide, he had better check his history. Because the vast majority of Holocaust victims were murdered after the Allies decided to help the victims by ignoring them.

 

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