By Arul Louis
The United Nations- India called on the UN to take a direct stand against Hinduphobia and violent sectarianism targeting Sikhism and Buddhism.
“This August body does not recognize the rise in hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism,” Ashish Sharma, first secretary of the United Nations Indian mission, told the United Nations on Wednesday. General Assembly during a debate on the culture of peace.
“We fully agree that anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Christian acts must be condemned and India strongly condemns such acts,” he said, referring to the draft resolution on “Freedom of religion or of conviction â.
But he said that âUN resolutions on such important issues speak only of these three Abrahamic religionsâ which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam which have their origins in the Jewish prophet Abraham.
âWhy this selectivity? Sharma asked.
“The shattering of the iconic Bamyan Buddha by fundamentalists, the terrorist bombing of the Sikh gurudwara in Afghanistan where 25 Sikh worshipers were killed and the destruction of Hindu and Buddhist temples and the minority cleansing of these religions by countries, calls to condemn such acts against these religious as well.
“The UN is not a body that should take sides in matters of religion,” he added.
The draft resolution which only named the three Abrahamic religions was sponsored by 33 predominantly Christian European countries, and none of the Islamic countries or Israel joined it.
The project was approved last month by the Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.
The draft resolution states that the General Assembly ârecognizes with deep concern the global increase in cases of discrimination, intolerance and violenceâ and only specifies âcases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and christianophobia â.
It also includes a sentence referring only to âprejudicesâ against âpeople of other religions or beliefsâ giving the impression that members of non-Abrahamic religions do not face intolerance or violence.
Similar resolutions have been adopted at least since 2006, only mentioning the three religions, although previous ones have added references to Arabs, indigenous peoples, and people of Asian and African descent.
Sharma said, âOverall, Hinduism has over 1.2 billion, Buddhism has over 535 million, and Sikhism has around 30 million followers. It is time that the attacks on these religions are also added to the previous list of the three Abrahamic religions when such resolutions are passed.
âThe culture of peace cannot be reserved for the Abrahamic religions alone. And as long as such selectivity exists, the world can never truly foster a culture of peace.
“India is not only the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, but it is also the land where the teachings of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism took root and where the Sufi tradition of Islam flourished. Today, each of the great religions of the world has a home in India.
âFor millennia, India has provided shelter to waves of persecuted people in foreign lands and allowed them to prosper in India. “
Establishing an area of ââdifference with Abrahamic monotheism and quoting Swami Vivekananda, he said, âWe not only believe in universal tolerance, but we accept all religions as true.
The âhistoric tradition of intercultural dialogue in India has been based on our quest for knowledge, a willingness to question, as well as a desire to learn. So, for example, the Buddha urged his followers not to accept his beliefs without questioning them, âSharma added. (IANS)