Indian American Muslim Council, a USA-based advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has congratulated the citizens of the 8th Congressional District of Illinois, for electing the inclusive vision of Tammy Duckworth, over the divisive agenda of incumbent Congressman Joe Walsh.
Mr. Walsh was the first elected official to openly campaign for granting a visa to Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, whose entry into the US was banned under the International Religious Freedom Act. This law makes any foreign government official who “was responsible for severe violations of religious freedom” ineligible for a US visa. The law was invoked for Mr. Modi for his complicity in the horrific Gujarat pogrom of 2002 that claimed the lives of over 2,000 people and displaced over 150,000.
Ms. Duckworth, known for her unwavering commitment to human rights and inclusive politics, handily defeated freshman Walsh, whose unquestioning support for Mr. Modi displayed a level of insensitivity to human rights violations not seen among elected public officials.
Joe Walsh’s defeat is also a tribute to the tenacity of the district, with a high concentration of South Asians who rejected fear tactics and hate-mongering by Super PACs and special interest groups. SuperPACs like “Indian Americans for Freedom” poured large sums of money into the campaign with ads proclaiming “If you love Modi, send Joe Walsh to Congress.” The fact that such an affinity for Modi and the divisiveness he represents backfired at the ballot box is a reassuring sign about the future of pluralism.
“In a nation that cherishes tolerance, Mr. Walsh’s defeat demonstrates the futility of divisive agendas and the promotion of human rights violators,” said Mr. Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC in a statement on November 8. “It is clear that Walsh’s attack on Duckworth, for being ‘on the wrong side of history,’ was woefully misguided and rather ironic,” added Mr. Khateeb.
IAMC is hopeful that Ms. Duckworth’s tenure in the House of Representatives will be marked by a fearless defence of our common values and contribute to the advancement of justice and human rights abroad.