Several South Asian American civil rights groups are criticizing the formation of a new Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain American Congressional Caucus, saying they’re worried marginalized groups are being left out.
They also say their nationwide community advocacy groups were not consulted in its creation.
“This caucus is not representative of the Sikh community,” tweeted the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights organization that authored a letter, along with other four groups, denouncing the caucus.
Spearheaded by Rep. Shri Thanedar, a Democratic congressman from Michigan, the caucus aims to combat religious discrimination, promote Hindu, Buddhist and Jain community needs and foster interfaith dialogue.
“We are assembling to pioneer a movement,” Thanedar said in his announcement of the caucus. “One that strives for understanding, inclusion and affirmative policy actions. A movement that says every faith, every culture, and every community has a place in America.”
But in the letter signed by organizations like Hindus for Human Rights, the Sikh Coalition and the Indian American Muslim Council, advocates say the caucus is missing some vital perspectives from minority South Asians.
“We welcome any caucus to forward the interests of our and other religious communities, so long as it does so in a way that is inclusive of perspectives of the entire South Asian community across faith, caste, and ethnic lines,” the letter reads. “We are skeptical, however, that this particular caucus meets that description.”
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