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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Why the UN feels the pain of Abrahamic religions only? It ignores violence against Hindus, Sikhs, & Buddhists

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India has called out the “selectivity” of the United Nations and condemned the acts of violence against all religions. India raps the United Nations and gave a stern message that UN General Assembly always shows its concerns towards ‘Abrahamic’ religions and selectively failed to acknowledge the rising hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism.

Ashish Sharma, the First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN was addressing the UN General Assembly session on ‘Culture of Peace’ on Wednesday. Where he exposed these “disconcerting trends” in the world of today.

India made it clear that all the anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Christian acts of violence needed to be condemned, and India as a responsible nation, firmly condemns such acts, but at the same time, India also raised concerns over the selectivity of the UN, where UN resolutions on such important issues spoke only of these three Abrahamic religions together. The UN body conveniently fails to acknowledge the rise of hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism also.

Ashish Sharma further added that “Culture of peace cannot be only for Abrahamic religions. And as long as such selectivity exists, the world can never truly foster a culture of peace”.

Asserting that the UN is not a body that should take sides when it comes to religion, Sharma said if “we are indeed selective”, the world would end up proving American political scientist Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’.

“What we are trying to build here is an ‘alliance of civilisations’, not set up a clash. I call on the UN Alliance of Civilisation to act likewise and speak for all, not just a select few,” he said.

Sharma recalled the shattering of the iconic Bamyan Buddha by Islamic fundamentalists ‘Taliban’ in Afghanistan as well as the terrorist bombing of a gurdwara in war-torn Afghanistan in March, where 25 Sikh worshipers were killed, and the destruction of Hindu and Buddhist temples and minority cleansing of these religions by countries.

It was expected from this august 193-member General Assembly to condemn such violence and attacks against the Buddhist, the Hindu and the Sikh religion also. However, to our shock, the current member states refuse to speak of these religions in the same breath as the first three ‘Abrahamic’ religions. Why is this selectivity?

Sharma asserted that overall, Hinduism had more than 1.2 billion followers, Buddhism had over 535 million followers and Sikhism around 30 million followers across the world. He further added that “It is time that attacks against these religions are also added to the earlier list of the three Abrahamic religions when such resolutions are passed”.

Here it is important to note, that UN General Assembly has released several resolutions over the years that have categorically condemned and voiced concern over an increase in “anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, and Islamophobia in various parts of the world”. There are countless occasions where the UN immediately passed resolutions against even small acts of violence, but at the same time, it ignores the plights of Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists.

UN’s shoddy approach towards violence against other religious minorities is like “get little more than a slap on the wrist”, this sentiment has been shared by several other countries as well.

India is not just the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, but it has been a land where the teachings of Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism had taken strong root and where the Sufi tradition of Islam has flourished. Today, every one of the world’s major religions has a home in India.

India had provided shelter to millions of people from other faith, who were persecuted in foreign lands, India accepted them and allowed them to thrive in India. India’s strong and closely knitted tradition of inter-culture dialogue goes right to the time when ancient Indian thinkers had a flourishing dialogue with the ancient Greeks. India is not just a culture, but a civilization in itself.

Ashish Sharma further underlined that a ‘Culture of peace’ is the cornerstone of the foundation of a World order of tolerance and peace. India had tried to foster this culture through tolerance, understanding, respect for differences, respect for other religions and cultures, respect for human rights, gender equality — all this under the overarching umbrella of pluralistic ethos and democratic principles.

India has co-sponsored a resolution presented by the government of Bangladesh titled ‘Follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace’. This resolution reiterates that the objective of the effective implementation of the Programme of Action is to strengthen further the global movement for a culture of peace.

This resolution invites UN member states to continue to place greater emphasis on and expand their activities promoting a culture of peace at the national, regional and international levels and to ensure that peace and non-violence are fostered at all levels.

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