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Obama remark; balance between religious freedom, social harmony

Former US President Barack Obama’s remarks on Muslims in India at the time Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States evoked mixed response from the political arena.

In a recent media interview, Obama had said that President Joe Biden should bring up “the protection of the Muslim minority in a majority Hindu India” in talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Obama added that if minority rights are not protected, there is a strong possibility of India “at some point pulling apart”.

DIFFERING OPINIONS

As with any political statements, there can be differing opinions on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the remarks made by public figures like Barack Obama. It is crucial for individuals to engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue to address the concerns and aspirations of all segments of society.

It is worth noting that public statements made by former leaders can influence political relationships and diplomatic dynamics between countries. However, it is challenging to predict the specific impact of Obama’s remarks on the relations between the United States and India.

Religious diversity and the protection of minority rights are significant topics in any democratic society. India, with its diverse religious and cultural landscape, faces unique challenges in ensuring equal rights and treatment for all its citizens, including religious minorities. The tensions and debates surrounding these issues reflect the ongoing discussions about the balance between religious freedom and social harmony.

WHAT DID OBAMA SAY?

Soon after PM Modi and US President Joe Biden addressed a joint press conference in Washington DC, Obama said that if he had a conversation with Modi, he would discuss the rights of ethnic minorities in India and what would happen if their rights were not protected.

BJP REBUKE

Senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman expressed scepticism about the credibility of former US President Barack Obama’s comments and allegations by criticizing his record during his presidency. Sitharaman highlighted that under Obama’s administration, several Muslim-majority countries were bombed, with thousands of bombs being dropped. She questioned the credibility of his comments on India’s religious tolerance and suggested that such criticism should not be taken seriously, considering the actions taken by his own administration in different parts of the world.

US COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has often raised New Delhi’s hackles by faulting it for interfering with the rights of minorities. However, it was quite a surprise when one of its former commissioners, Johnnie Moore, took on former US president Barack Obama for his remarks.

Moore suggested that Obama should focus on praising India rather than criticizing it. He said Obama should have considered India’s remarkable diversity and status as the largest democracy in the world. Moore emphasized the importance of privately addressing concerns with friends while publicly celebrating their achievements. He also acknowledged Obama’s complimentary remarks about Modi and his understanding of the positive aspects of his leadership after spending time with him.

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