Christian leaders disappointed with Trump’s silence over declining religious freedom in India
Christian leaders in India are greatly disappointed with President Trump’s silence over declining religious freedom in the country during his first two-day state visit that concluded on February 25.
In Tuesday’s media conference, Trump praised Narendra Modi for his government policy and said that the prime minister of India “wants people to have religious freedom very strongly.”
Trump also stated that religious freedom or any religion-based violence going on in the country were an internal matter for India.
Trump’s failure to comment on the violence that radical Hindu nationalists are carrying out in the name of religion against religious minorities in the country has disappointed Christian leaders who had great expectations from the leader.
Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum told UCA News that “Persecuted Christians had great expectations, but Trump lost the opportunity.”
Jesuit Father Denzil Fernandes, director of the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi and a social activist, said, “People were aware that Trump would not say anything about religious freedom or any minority issues because people knew that he was here for a business trip.”
According to Father Fernandes, domestic electoral compulsions and business forced the president of the USA to skip questions on religious persecution in the country.
“Not just Trump, no visiting US president in the past gave importance to anything other than business. They come here just for trade promotion. So expecting them to say something about religious freedom will be wrong,” the priest added.
Father Fernandes also pointed out that Trump’s visit to India was to gain millions of Indian-origin voters in the USA for the upcoming presidential elections.
Bringing out the facts that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom detailed about the declining religious freedom in India, A.C. Michael, a former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, said, “Under such circumstances, it was expected from the US president to speak for the freedom of the Indian Christian community, whose support he seeks in his country.”
Before leaving to India, Trump “gave an assurance to American Indian Christians that he would take up the matter of violence against minorities, especially Christians. He has failed to keep his word. He is obliged to explain this unforgivable failure,” the Christian leader added.