Hindu American Foundation

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The Hindu American Foundation (HAF, founded September 3, 2003) is a Hindu pressure group operating in the United States. It reportedly maintains ties with the Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) organisation Vishva Hindu Parishad[1] and takes a Neo-Hinduist, monotheist stance.[2]

The organisation presents itself as an advocacy organization for the Hindu American community.[3][4] Aseem Shukla, who is Associate Professor in urologic surgery at the University of Minnesota medical school, is one of the co-founders of this organization.[5]

The Hindu American Foundation has also worked with organizations like the American Jewish Committee to counter biases against Hindus and Jews in college campuses like Stanford University.[6]

Human rights report[edit]

The Hindu American Foundation, released a report in 2005 on the status of the human rights of Hindus, mainly in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Kashmir valley. The report attempts to increase awareness of anti-Hindu views that they say are used to justify violations of the human rights of many Hindus in the region. The report introduces as

The 71-page report compiles media coverage and firsthand accounts of human rights violations perpetrated against Hindus because of their religious identity. The incidents are documented, often quoting from well-known international human rights organizations.[7] The Hindu American Foundation presented the report to the co-chairs of the US Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, and Gary Ackerman, a Democrat. Both of these members of Congress endorsed it.[8] Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and co-founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, praised the HAF for the report.

Several academics on campuses around the U.S. also reviewed this year’s report. Florida International University Professor of religious Studies, Nathan Katz, remarked on the promulgation of various anti-Hindu sentiments recorded in the report:

Since then, the Foundation has expanded the scope of its human rights report and continues to release an annual report entitled Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora. The report covers Hindu human rights in eight countries plus India's state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The report documents the long history of anti-Hindu atrocities in Bangladesh, a topic that many Indians and Indian governments over the years have preferred not to acknowledge. Such atrocities, including targeted attacks against temples, open theft of Hindu property, and rape of young Hindu women and enticements to convert to Islam, have increased sharply in recent years after the Jamat-e-Islami joined the coalition government led by the Bangladesh National Party.

The report concludes with:

The people whose persecution is amply documented in this report are being persecuted because they are Hindu, not because they are poor or because of their political views. Human rights activists in Bangladesh and Pakistan, many of whom are not Hindus, have painstakingly documented the violations of basic human rights of Hindus in their country.

The Human rights was endorsed by members of congress Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, and Gary Ackerman, a Democrat.[9]

California textbook dispute[edit]

The HAF was actively involved in the Californian Hindu textbook controversy. On March 16, 2006, it filed a lawsuit contesting the California's Curriculum Commission's decision to reject many of the Vedic Foundation and Hindu Education Foundation's suggested edits to California's textbook curriculum on Hinduism and India, which were opposed by a number of organizations and individuals, claiming that many of the changes were revisionist. (See main article Californian Hindu textbook controversy for details.)

As of September 1, 2006, the HAF case has been resolved. The HAF won the case as the judge ruled that the CA State Board of Education violated its textbook approval process. But, the court ruled to retain the textbooks, noting the significant expense associated with reissuing the textbooks.[3] HAF has launched a circular confirming the decision by the courts and expressing a certain measure of satisfaction at the recognition of the illegality of the proceedings [4]. The brief published by HAF says that the judge ruled in favor of retaining the edits on the grounds that he did not wish to disrupt the process of disseminating the revised editions at this stage. The legal team of HAF has posted an assessment of the result [5].

Mihir Meghani, President of the Hindu American Foundation, described the judgment as a "mixed victory". He says:

"This ruling now forces the California Board of Education to comply with the law — to have a fair and open public process to benefit all California students."[6]

as well as:

"The (foundation) is disappointed that ... (the judge) has not ordered the textbooks on hand to be modified to be more accurate ... and a flawed and illegal procedure leads to flawed textbooks"[7]

The foundation has also played a key role in the "take back yoga campaign".[10]


  1. ^ "US rejects 'Hindutva lessons'". The Times of India. 20 March 2006. 
  2. ^ Pyong Gap Min (2010). Preserving Ethnicity Through Religion in America: Korean Protestants and Indian Hindus Across Generations. NYU Press. p. 32. 
  3. ^ California in a time of excellence: school reform at the crossroads of the American dream, pp129, SUNY Press, 2009
  4. ^ Smashing the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women Religious Leaders in Their Own Words, pp 25 By Maureen Fiedler, Church Publishing, Inc., 2010
  5. ^ .The theft of yoga, The Washington Post, April 18, 2010.
  6. ^ Panel promotes understanding,Stanford Daily
  7. ^ a b Human Rights Report from HAF
  8. ^ a b c [1] Second Annual Report On Hindu Human Rights Released, Pacific Magazine
  9. ^ http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/aug/13guest1.htm
  10. ^ [2]

External links[edit]