“How much does the Modi government have to criminalize being a Muslim in India for us to say anything? What will it take for us to openly criticize the actions the Modi government is taking against its Muslim minority?” asked Omar, as reported by Reuters.
Later, Sherman responded by saying he was okay with the US government standing up for every religion, every ethnicity, every race, every quality of diversity in this world. Omar quickly retorted, “I hope we practice defending not only our enemies, but also our allies.”
“Of course,” said Sherman, who also noted that the United States had raised concerns about India’s human rights record directly with officials in New Delhi.
Indian Muslims have seen the right to practice their faith diminished under Modi’s government and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to several international rights groups.
Human Rights Watch reported in 2021 that the BJP has infiltrated independent institutions, such as the police and courts, allowing nationalist groups to threaten, harass, and attack religious minorities with impunity. He also mentioned that Modi and the BJP have passed laws and policies that systematically discriminate against Muslims.