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Barack Obama: ‘Acts of intolerance’ in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi

Obama did not name any particular religion and said the violence is not unique to one group or one religion.

Written by Lalit K Jha | Aboard Uss George Washington | Updated: February 6, 2015 10:14 am
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US President Barack Obama on Thursday said “acts of intolerance” experienced by religious faiths of all types in India in the past few years would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi.

The comments came a day after the White House refuted suggestions that the US President’s public speech in New Delhi, in which he touched on religious tolerance, was a “parting shot” aimed at the ruling BJP.

Hours before winding up his three-day visit to India on January 27, Obama had said, “Every person has the right to practice his faith without any persecution, fear or discrimination. India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines. Your Article 25 says all people are equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and have the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion. In both our countries, in all countries, upholding freedom of religion is the utmost responsibility of the government, but also the responsibility of every person.”

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On Thursday, at the high-profile National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said, “Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other people of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.”

However, he did not name any particular religion and said the violence is not unique to one group or one religion.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow (racial segregation state and local laws) all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” he said, addressing a gathering of over 3,000 US and international leaders.

“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe,” he said.

On Wednesday, the White House had refuted allegations that Obama’s remarks in India were aimed at the BJP, saying that the speech in its entirety was about the “core democratic values and principles” of both the US and India.

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  1. I
    Indus
    Feb 6, 2015 at 10:53 am
    We are Sorry ! Mr. Barrack Obama ! Despite the hospitality shown to you your country by the Hindustan , you have betra majority Indians by accusing them as religiously intolerant. To straighten the book for you,We know that you will deliberately not convinced by facts, 1. Hindus have never converted other religion people with false promises and money power in their entire history. Where as Christians have done so in the entire history and is still continuing to do so. We, the Hindus have never fought a war on religious lines , instead we accepted all religions alike, but history is full of evidences that you Christians and Muslims did. We did not invade any country outside Hindustan but you did ! We never treated human being as slaves by inflicting extreme humiliation to them but your ancestry beholds ample proof of that. Just one day you think of your ancestors , then you will know what is religious intolerance and where all the religious sects in Africa has vanished. But we , in Hindustan , all encomp the fold of Hinduism and also able retain the ideny. While entire History bears proof of Christian proselytisation by money power and false propaa and Muslim proselytisation by brutal force and bloodshed , we the Hindus have a history of only tolerance. So don't accuse us of intolerance by standing neck deep
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    1. H
      Hate note
      Feb 6, 2015 at 8:59 am
      Anyone who tells the truth about us is anti Indian..!
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      1. H
        Hate note
        Feb 6, 2015 at 9:12 am
        It is nonsense that BJP who got such a national mandate letting it slip through their fingers, by resorting to religious polarization, before the watching world. Modi himself barely got a global acceptance, after he was let in by US. Does BJP think that only their rhetoric goes global and not their actions? What is their god business in politics? Cong and others too tried whenever it suited them to simply sow the seeds of hatred. But what they achieved out of it? The truth is once in power, they are all one and same. Greedy and selfish, aiming to look the nation. MPs and MLA funds remain unused while roads are full of pots, garbage on the road, sewer open, no medical care in the vicinity and no good school for the less privileged. They can't solve or not interested in solving our physical problem and they talk about met physical issue. God, religion, conversion, reconversion...did we elect them to tell us who is the state approved god? They can't a fix a road but they preside over heavenly matters, as if god is their uncle. They were elected to bring water and power, but they created a smokescreen of religious intolerance and watch the poor, illiterate citizens, forgetting their unmet human need for which we elected them in the first place, kill and maim each other in the name of god, while they eat and make merry with corporates, enriching themselves.
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        1. P
          Pradeep
          Feb 7, 2015 at 8:16 am
          Mr president has only advocated the religious tolerances towards the minor oties in order for India to be prosperous we needs to respect the sentiments of other religions I sincerely hope and pray that modi Ji donot fall in hands of fanatics and pla in to the hands of hindustiva a s India has a long history of religious tolerance. We in America live and pray without our temples being damaged or destro I well come the presidents remark
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          1. Abhinaw Shree
            Feb 6, 2015 at 5:14 pm
            Ooo Dear Obama...See the truth of the world...Y not speaking about minorities in your lovable country stan...???? U Came to India and not stan..So trying to console stan by making such comments about India??Lolzz USA's HYPOCRISY AT ITS BEST
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