No Mention of Religious Freedom During President Trump’s Visit to India

FILE- In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo, a monkey sits on a hoarding welcoming U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of his visit to Ahmedabad, India. A festive mood has enveloped Ahmedabad in India’s northwestern state of Gujarat ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting Monday with U.S. President Donald Trump, whom he’s promised millions of adoring fans. The rally in Modi’s home state may help replace his association with deadly anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that landed him with a U.S. travel ban. It may also distract Indians, at least temporarily, from a slumping economy and ongoing protests over a citizenship law that excludes Muslims, but also risks reopening old wounds. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)

President Trump visited India this week and did not publicly address religious freedom, the issue that is tearing apart New Delhi.

Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs says, “Behind the scenes what is going on is Prime Minister Modi’s philosophy and his governing philosophy is Hindu nationalism. [All] Indians should be Hindus. If you’re Not a Hindu, you should become one or you should leave India. And so thousands of Muslims, in this case, have protested while President Trump was there. They thought ‘Maybe we could get some attention from the rest of the world.’”

What happened instead was Hindu Nationalists fought back, and violence erupted in New Delhi, killing over 30 people and injuring 200. Read more here.

recent citizenship law targets Muslims especially, but Nettleton says the Indian government’s attitude affects Christians and other minority faith groups as well.

Silence about religious freedom

Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not publicly speak about religious freedom. Nettleton says, “We don’t know obviously what happened behind the scenes. We don’t know what happened in the planning process. But those things were not said in a public forum where India’s people could hear or where we, as Americans could hear what the President is saying about religious freedom.”

Of course, addressing the issue publicly would have brought out strong reactions from Hindu nationalists in opposition to the president. But Nettleton says, “But there would have been a reaction from religious minorities in India to say ‘Thank you for hearing our voices. Thank you for speaking out on our behalf.’ And that ‘thank you’ would come from, among others, our Christian brothers and sisters in India.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray for Christians in India, that they would be protected and encouraged in their ministry.
  • Always live as though hope does not come from political leaders, but from the one and only true king: Jesus Christ.