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Hindu Press International
Proselytizing As a Human Rights Issue
on 2000/11/13 22:46:02 ( 900 reads )


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ITHACA, NEW YORK: Rajiv Malhotra challenged attendees at a November 8 conference on "Human Rights and Religion." He said in part, "We have heard numerous talks at this event about the human rights problems related to white supremacy groups, but do we have the courage to examine the possibility that there might be Christian supremacy groups as well, often camouflaged as proselytizers? We have heard numerous condemnations of hate speech, but do we exempt hate speech when it is done in the name of God or religion, even quoted from a sacred book? Let me start by listing the following phrases that are commonly used by proselytizers in describing their non-Christian target prospects: 'sinners', 'condemned', 'damned', 'heathen', pagan, etc. If it were not done in the name of religion, would this have been declared as hate speech? Does such talk, even if disguised or deferred until a later stage of a proselytizing campaign, build communal tension? Is this responsible for negative eruptions in India between Hindus and Christians who co-existed peacefully for centuries before the arrival of the proselytizers? Given that America is a tapestry of pluralistic faiths, and that therefore Hindus are also amongst one's classmates, neighbors, and colleagues at work, would this language lead to social problems in the future as opposed to the kind of harmonious society we all seek? Does it violate the UN Human Rights provision that guarantees 'dignity' to all people as a basic human right?"




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