Top Democrats are raising concerns about religious attacks against Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), an Indian American, arguing aggressive rhetoric aimed at him during a recent protest constitutes a threat of violence. Reports Washington Reporter.
At issue is the conduct of Pieter Friedrich, a longtime and vocal critic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been in office since 2014 and is a member of a Hindu nationalist party.
riedrich was the keynote speaker at one protest held outside Krishnamoorthi’s district office in Schaumburg, Illinois, where demonstrators can be heard on video chanting, “Krishnamoorthi murdabad.” That translates in Urdu to “down with” or “death to.” Friedrich tweeted this on June 3.
Friedrich has also repeatedly used social media to create a false link between Krishnamoorthi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an Indian Hindu nationalist paramilitary organization. Friedrich has commonly used the hashtags #Krishnamoorthimurdabad and #RSSRajaMustGo.
Krishnamoorthi said that is unfounded. The congressman, first elected to the House in 2016, recently called on his Democratic primary opponent in the new 8th Congressional District, technology consultant Junaid Ahmed, to stop promoting Friedrich. After all, Krishnamoorthi noted, Friedrich has a history of going after Hindu and Indian American political figures, including Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and California Democratic House hopeful Rishi Kumar, a member of the Saratoga City Council.
“This type of violent extremist rhetoric is completely unacceptable, and we have to condemn it for the sake of our children,” Krishnamoorthi said during a recent candidate forum.
Increasing attacks on Indian-Americans and Hindus is a cause of concern for the immigrant community in USA and is often cited as one of the reasons why Indian students are shying away from US universities.