A Public Statement Exposing APPWW

For a pdf version of this public statement, click here

We, the undersigned organizations, are committed to respect, dignity, justice, and human rights for all peoples, locally and globally.  We oppose groups that promote and perpetuate racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, casteism, antisemitism, and/or other forms of hate and bigotry.  We are especially troubled when organizations that claim to stand for justice and for the oppressed instead engage in action that promotes injustice and persecution.  For these reasons, we write this letter to oppose, condemn, and expose the Alliance for Persecuted Peoples Worldwide (APPWW).  

APPWW registered as a Washington non-profit in February 2020.  It claims to be “a voice for the voiceless in our communities from around the world who are persecuted for their gender, religion and race.”  In reality, the organization and its leaders advance dangerous, hateful rhetoric and behavior that hurt marginalized communities.  Numerous examples are described in detail in the full letter below with evidence from screenshots and images provided in the attached Appendix.  Here are some examples for context:

  • Making Islamophobic statements like:  “India and US have to come together against Islam . It’s abt time educated ppl realise the horror of Islam.”
  • Attacking Indian-American elected officials who critique certain policies of the Indian  government as “traitors” and “snakes,” and using anti-Muslim language in such attacks, like:  “She has created a voter base of homeless and now Muslims.  She is heavily playing appeasement politics and it is working for her bcz Americans don’t know  how Muslim system works.  They refuse to believe.  Whereas Indians know coz they are victims of jehadi systems.”
  • Asking Presidential candidates to “NOT hire any of Islamist Ikhwanis-Pak military stooges on Bernie Sanders’ campaign… Do not compromise with people who hate America” (a reference to Faiz Shakir, who was Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign manager and is an American Muslim).  
  • Promoting Hindu nationalism by encouraging boycotts of Muslim businesses and proudly claiming to buy only from places with “a saffron flag[.]  This is very good and retaliation is expected but we shud NOT stop . This is not islamic country and if we don’t make it hindu rashtra [Hindu Nation] then we are gone”.  
  • Sharing a post that the Black Lives Matter movement is a terrorist organization and part of the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas.
  • Giving a platform to well-known anti-Muslim bigots who have made statements like the following at APPWW events:  “From the world’s perspective or from India’s perspective, [if] you want to survive and stop bleeding and stop giving a gateway for China to destroy you, you will have to unwind Pakistan….  You’ll have to just cut it, and everything will go into its place… and Pakistan will sing its national anthem for the one last time”.  
  • Allowing for participant chat posts like the following during an APPWW event:  “stop buying from Halal establishments”, “Boycott Halal.  Stop employing Muslims”, “I stopped buying from Muslims”, “Islam is cancer”, and “It is our time to launch a counter attack on Islam by educating every Hindus”.   
  • Supporting a candidate who promotes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and attacks her opponent during an APPWW event for being friends with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (a Black American Muslim woman).

Despite the hate that APPWW and its leaders promulgate, they have been trying to influence and build credibility with community leaders and groups, have presented themselves as bridge-builders and sought partnerships with city councils, and have even received funding from reputable organizations such as the WA Census Alliance.  We issue this public letter to expose APPWW and its leaders for what they actually support and represent.  Even if they cloak their intentions by exploiting the language of social justice, and present themselves as innocuous or even beneficial, these types of groups are dangerous and harmful to our communities, especially as they increase in power and influence. 

As a broad, diverse coalition of community organizations in Washington State and nationally, we want to ensure that our friends, allies, partners, leaders, funders, elected officials, and the general public know the truth about APPWW.  This group’s values clearly do not align with values of justice and equity.  APPWW’s claims that it advocates for the oppressed are undermined by its engagement in harmful conduct that perpetuates hate, religious intolerance, and Islamophobia, and the leaders of APPWW are not credible representatives of the local Indian-American diaspora or South Asian communities.  We stand united in condemning the hateful rhetoric and behavior of APPWW and its leaders, and call on you to do so as well by completing the form here: www.tinyurl.com/CondemnAPPWW (organizations) and www.tinyurl.com/WeCondemnAPPWW (individuals).

Please read the full letter with the Appendix that follows.

Signed by:  

  • American Muslim Empowerment Network
  • Coalition of Seattle Indian Americans
  • South Asian Americans Together for Washington (SAATWA)
  • Indian American Muslim Council
  • India Association of Western Washington 
  • El Centro de la Raza
  • API Chaya
  • OneAmerica
  • WA Poor People’s Campaign
  • Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN)
  • Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
  • Densho:  The Japanese American Legacy Project
  • Pacific Northwest Ambedkar Group (Dalit)
  • Casa Latina
  • Khalsa Gurmat Center (Sikh)
  • Jewish Voice for Peace-Seattle
  • Ambedkar International Center
  • Faith Action Network
  • Church Council of Greater Seattle
  • Washington Dream Coalition
  • Degh Tegh Community Kitchen
  • Gurudwara Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur
  • World Without Hate
  • Entre Hermanos
  • Never Again Seattle
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)
  • Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County
  • Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches (National)
  • Mothers for Police Accountability
  • First AME Church
  • Paths to Understanding
  • Ambedkar King Study Circle
  • Ambedkar Association of North America 
  • Latino Community Fund 
  • Seattle Indivisible
  • Indivisible Eastside
  • South Asians Building Accountability & Healing (SABAH)
  • Ambedkarite Buddist Association of Texas
  • Kadima Reconstructionist Community (Jewish)
  • Middle Eastern Legal Association of WA (MELAW)
  • Jews Undoing Institutional Racism
  • MCNA – Muslim Community & Neighborhood Associatin
  • Guru Ghar Renton
  • Somali Health Board
  • Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA)
  • Centro Cultural Mexicano
  • Latino Advocacy
  • Abu-Bakr Islamic Center Of Washington 
  • Muslims for Community, Action and Support (MCAS)
  • Access To Our Community (ATOC)
  • La Resistencia
  • Council on American Islamic Relations (National)
  • CAIR Washington
  • Hindus for Human Rights
  • Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
  • Global Indian Progressive Alliance
  • Queen Anne United Methodist Church/The Well
  • Gethsemane Lutheran Church
  • Husaynia Islamic Society of Seattle 
  • University Temple United Methodist Church
  • Stand With Kashmir – Seattle
  • Bethany United Church of Christ 
  • Islamic Center of Bothell 
  • Plymouth Church UCC
  • Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Temple
  • Muslim American Youth Foundation 
  • Sammamish Muslim Association
  • Columbia City Church of Hope
  • SALAAM Center
  • Washington Immigrant Defense Network (WIDEN)
  • Seattle Young Jews for Justice
  • Islamic Center of Tacoma
  • Queen Anne Baptist Church
  • South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
  • Washington State Commission on APA Affairs (CAPAA)
  • Chief Seattle Club
  • King County Democrats
  • Indivisible Plus Washington
  • Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice Northwest Steering Committee
  • Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition
  • Global Social Business Partners (GSBP)
  • University Unitarian Church
  • Iraqi Community Center of WA
  • First Covenant Church
  • Pomegranate Initiative (National)
  • South Asian Bar Association of Washington (SABAW)
  • Woodland Park Presbyterian Church
  • Indivisible Whidbey
  • Young Women Empowered (Y-WE)
  • Indivisible Washington’s 8th District
  • Washington State Indivisible Podcast
  • Muslim Community Resource Center (MCRC)
  • Neighbors in Faith
  • Tasveer
  • Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC)
  • Snoqualmie Valley Indivisibles
  • Islamic Center of Olympia 
  • Sexual Violence Law Center
  • Wallingford Indivisible 
  • Indivisible Puyallup 
  • PF Enterprises 
  • Snohomish County Indivisible
  • Indivisible Kirkland
  • Hate Free Delridge
  • Indivisible Wenatchee 
  • Indivisible Bainbridge Island
  • Indivisible Tacoma
  • Washington Coalition to Eliminate Farmworker Sexual Harassment 
  • Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture
  • Seattle South Asians 4 Black Lives
  • Ellensburg Indivisible 
  • Lower Columbia Indivisible
  • The Maternal Coalition
  • A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery & Education 
  • Gambian Talents Promotion 
  • Seattle Democratic Socialists of America
  • International Commission for Dalit Rights, Inc.
  • Vashon-Maury SURJ
  • Indivisible Vashon
  • Community Visions
  • Indivisible Puyallup 
  • Seattle Immigrant Rights Action Group
  • Freedom Socialist Party
  • King County Immigrant & Refugee Commission
  • Northwest Harvest
  • East Shore Unitarian Church
  • Eat With Muslims
  • Plateaupians for Peace
  • Seattle Chapter JACL (Japanese American Citizens League)
  • Northwest Interfaith
  • OCA Asian Pacific Advocates – Greater Seattle Chapter
  • Peace Action Group of Plymouth Church Seattle, UCC
  • Puyallup Valley Chapter of Japanese American Citizens League
  • First Congregational Church, Bellevue
  • Eastside Black Voices
  • Radical Women
  • Seattle LGBTQ Commission
  • India Civil Watch International

Full Detailed Statement Exposing APPWW

Background 

In December 2019, the Government of India passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed a National Register of Citizens (NRC).  The CAA/NRC were condemned by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the independent, bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, along with human rights organizations around the world.  

In February 2020, the Seattle City Council became the first legislative body in our country to pass a resolution against the CAA/NRC1Resolution 31926, introduced by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, passed unanimously.  It affirmed Seattle as a welcoming city, and expressed the City Council’s solidarity with Seattle’s South Asian community regardless of religion or caste, while calling on Congress to take action.  

The Seattle City Council held public meetings on Resolution 31926 on January 21 and February 3.  The majority of those who made public comment at the January 21 meeting supported the resolution, while there was an organized opposition to passage of the resolution at the February 3 meeting.  In their comments, many opponents of the resolution engaged in gaslighting, sharing false information, and expressing anti-Muslim views.  This behavior was so prevalent at the February 3 meeting that Councilmember Tammy Morales even stated:  “I have to say that …  most of the comments I heard today had an undertone of religious intolerance.  I think we need to speak up about that.”2  

APPWW seems to have emerged from this organized opposition.  Ms. Bhakti Joshi, Ms. Archana Sunil, Mr. Ram Dixit, and Mr. Debadutta Dash (who are all Board Members/Leaders of APPWW) provided public comments at the Seattle City Council in opposition to the resolution.3  

Bigotry of APPWW Leaders

APPWW leaders have revealed their anti-Muslim and bigoted views in many ways, including the following, as supported by the screenshots and images in the Appendix.  

Ms. Bhakti Joshi (@bhakti_tweeting):

  • Repeatedly tweeting and amplifying Islamophobic content on social media, with statements like:  “India and US have to come together against Islam . It’s abt time educated ppl realise the horror of Islam.”  
  • Promoting ugly conspiracy theories by  falsely claiming:  “Islam even allows speakin lies to make ppl belive Islam. Gazwae Hind, Entire global terror industry is on basis of turning whole land into Islam. Non islami are kafirs.”
  • Sharing anti-Christian commentary like: “Missionaries are on a massive conversion spree and anything or anyone tat resists them is under attack.”  Indian Christians are mostly Dalit; read about attacks on them.  
  • Endorsing Hindu nationalism by proudly statingI will only buy if I see a saffron [Hindu] flag[.]  This is very good and retaliation is expected but we shud NOT stop . This is not islamic country and if we don’t make it hindu rashtra [Hindu Nation] then we are gone ”.  
  • Using anti-Muslim rhetoric in attacking Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant who is Indian-American (and sponsored the anti-CAA/NRC resolution in Seattle), with statements like:  “Kshama Sawant is a traitor. she said outright lies on the floor of seattle city council. she has said totally ridiculous over-the-top lies about CAA and NRC of India. She has back channels with CAIR and other islamist jihadi linked outfits. She has betrayed her own motherland.”  
  • Tweeting:  “She [CM Sawant] has created a voter base of homeless and now Muslims. She is heavily playing appeasement politics and it is working for her bcz Americans don’t know  how Muslim system works. They refuse to believe. Whereas Indians know coz they are victims of jehadi systems.”4
  • Posting:  “I’m an indian .  We are completely pissed off with her [CM Sawant].  Believe me she is a traitor to India.  She has gathered a bunch anti India ppl and Islamist jihadi networks are behind her.  Honestly it’s not easy to uproot her bcz she is backed my [Congresswoman] pramila jaipal .”
  • Making other repeated slurs against CM Sawant such as:  “Indians are ashamed of her.  She is a traitor.  She is a snake.”  “India doesn’t want her.  Send her to North Korea”.    
  • Replying to an attack on a Redmond City Councilmember (who is American Muslim) by the notorious troll and Islamophobe Amy Mekelburg from RAIR (Resistance against Islamic Radicals), which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate organization, by stating:  “and [Councilmember] varisha khan is in the team of seattle cm kshama sawant. all these people , nicely get funding from terror linked orgs and make good fool of us all. they must be laughing at us.”

Ms. Archana Sunil (@thatladyslayer):

  • Promoting anti-Muslim content and conspiracy theories on Twitter.  While she has now deleted her Twitter account, screenshots of some of her anti-Muslim comments have been captured and are provided in the Appendix.  For instance, she has shared a post asking the Joe Biden campaign:  “Please do NOT hire any of Islamist Ikhwanis-Pak military stooges on Bernie Sanders’ campaign… Do not compromise with people who hate America.”  This is a reference to Faiz Shakir, who was Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign manager and is Muslim.  She added “@JoeBiden we hope you’re smarter than Bernie”.  
  • Sharing a post claiming:  “Just found out the black lives Matter is apart of the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Organization, Hamas.”.

Mr. Debadutta Dash

  • Posting images of protests on social media where people are carrying placards with “jihad killed us” written on them, which is an Islamophobic slur.  
  • Characterizing those protesting the CAA/NRC in India as rioters” and “hooligans — similar to the problematic language used to distract attention and distort the narrative around Black Lives Matter protesters in our country.

Promotion of Hate at APPWW’s Events

In May 2020, APPWW held one of its first events, India’s Article 370 & the Genocide in Kashmir:  A Talk by Francois Gautier.  The featured speaker, Mr. Gautier, is a noted Islamophobe and a front-line Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) activist.  The APPWW video of that event has since been made unavailable.  But some of the anti-Muslim comments and statements made in the video conferencing chat box during that event were captured by screenshots and are provided in the Appendix.  Examples included:

  • stop buying from Halal establishments
  • Boycott Halal.  Stop employing Muslims
  • I stopped buying from Muslims
  • Islam is cancer
  • It is our time to launch a counter attack on Islam by educating every Hindus
  • we need to encourage Hindus to go ahead and buy land in Kashmir.  Our Army needs to be like the Israeli Army.  10 eyes for every eye

Such comments by event attendees are unsurprising when a noted anti-Muslim speaker like Mr. Gautier is given a platform to spread fear and misinformation.  

Mr. Gautier himself is unabashed in his anti-Muslim views, with ugly statements such as:  

“Behind every Muslim, even seemingly moderate such as @Javedakhtarjadu ,there is a soldier of Islam.They may compromise on some aspects, but if u scratch ,they despise u and will secretly excuse terrorism such as 1 that happened in France, in name of Palestine, Chechnya or Kashmir.” 

He also has raised George Floyd’s background and the violence police face in response to online discussions about Mr. Floyd and police brutality, while using racist language describing Mr. Floyd (“I know that #Floyd had a past as a little thug & that the cops are under immense pressure and respond to violence with violence”).5 

In June 2020, APPWW held another event inviting another well-known Islamophobe, Tarek Fatah, whose anti-Muslim bigotry has been documented by Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative.  As noted by the Bridge Initiative, Mr. Fatah regularly mocks women who wear head coverings, and has repeatedly claimed that the hijab is a “political flag of the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood” and that if a woman “is against ISIS, then she’d take it [the hijab] off.”  He further regularly attacks American Muslim leaders and organizations as being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and has accused Congresswoman Ilhan Omar as being a “fifth columnist,” describing her hijab as a “Muslim Brotherhood flag.” 

The topic of APPWW’s June event purportedly was the oppression of minorities in Pakistan.  While our organizations denounce the oppression of minorities in Pakistan (and elsewhere in the world), the speakers including Mr. Fatah made clear their extreme anti-Pakistan hate with statements such as:  

  • My fundamental view about persecuted minorities in Pakistan is that the country that is now called Pakistan does not exist.  Pakistan died in 1971…
  • Pakistan is not a state, it is a state of mind…  Sooner or later it has to collapse…
  • Until Pakistan breaks into its 4 or 5 contiguous parts, uh, it’s not that minorities will suffer.  Its people, any people, who are there, the destiny is to suffer.  You cannot otherwise exist.  If Pakistan tries to secure itself, it has to kill its own people.  If it cannot kill its activist population, it will disintegrate.
  • Tragedy is that Pakistan’s majority is embarrassed at its own existence.  It’s the only people on earth who refuse to speak the mother tongue.
  • From the world’s perspective or from India’s perspective, [if] you want to survive and stop bleeding and stop giving a gateway for China to destroy you, you will have to unwind Pakistan….  You’ll have to just cut it, and everything will go into its place.”  
  • And Pakistan will sing its national anthem for the one last time because — you won’t believe it — not a single Pakistani can understand what is in the Pakistan National Anthem because in their inferiority complex they copied it from Persian!

Rather than disclaiming any of the above statements, the APPWW moderator (Bharath Gopalaswamy) thanked Mr. Fatah for “wonderfully [laying] out the broader context” and “the history, the trajectory” of the region.6  

Political Partisanship 

While APPWW is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it has supported candidates at its events and on its social media, including those who have made anti-Muslim comments.  At its June 2020 event, APPWW gave a platform to, and showed support for, two Republican candidates.  The first candidate, Manga Anantatmula, running for office in Virginia, attacked her opponent for being friends with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, while APPWW agreed:

Ms. Anantatmula:  I’m going to really be very glad if I can, um, get elected and be in the House to be someone who looks up to you [Senator Ted Cruz] and support our President who’s trying to fight this, um, human right[s] violations for all of us.  But then a lot of things about President Trump are not brought into limelight because this entire media is leftist.  This entire media is socialist and communist…

APPWW:  Yeah…

Ms. Anantatmula:  So your voices and our voices are just going into deaf ears–

APPWW:  — Thank you Manga, that’s, you’re absolutely right about that…

Ms. Anantatmula:  … and all your fights.  I’ll be very happy to represent each and every one of you.  As a person who knows what exactly is happening.  Thanks APPWW for giving this platform.  And opening all of us to some crude realities that’s happening in the world.  And it’s good that we are all on the same platform, sharing our stories.  We’ll get this story out.  And I will definitely win.  And you’ll be very surprised that my opponent is.. He declared himself a very close friend of Ilhan Omar.  

[Another speaker]:  Wow!

Ms. Anantatmula:  Needless to say … what kind of a friendship that is.  And what kind of a person my opponent is.  And what kind of a fervor and audacity and um… the courage I have to have to fight this fight and win back that seat–

APPWW:  We wish you the best for that, Manga.  That’s fantastic.  And we are all here to wish you good luck, and we appreciate you stepping up and representing all the persecuted people in America.7

Ms. Anantatmula has a history of promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and fear-mongering, including the following (which are documented in the Appendix):

Ms. Anantatmula has continued her anti-Muslim attacks since the June 2020 APPWW event, including by again attacking her opponent as friends with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (“He calls @Ilhan his friend and running his campaign with Pak terrorist $$$$$”); sharing posts warning that “every subject, every extracurricular activity, will be perverted to turn your kids into mini-Ilhan Omars” stating “#SaveYourKids #SaveYourFuture before Dems mass manufacture Ilhan Omars. #IlhanOmarBadNewsForThisCountry”; and more.  See the Appendix.

The second Republican candidate who was recognized and given a platform by APPWW was Ritesh Tandon, who is challenging California Congressmember Ro Khanna.  In introducing Mr. Tandon, APPWW specifically mentioned Ro Khanna’s opposition to India’s Article 370 and CAA/NRC.  Mr. Tandon has admitted that he “was motivated to run by Khanna’s alleged anti-Hindutva comments.” 

After hearing from both Ms. Anantatmula and Mr. Tandon, the APPWW moderator (Bharath Gopalaswamy) thanked them, saying:  “Thank you, thank you to our special guests.  Those are passionate pleas, and we do appreciate them and we wish you all the best in your campaign, in your fight, and we look forward to seeing you in office as soon as possible.8

In addition to support for partisan candidates like Ms. Anantatmula and Mr. Tandon, APPWW has further supported President Trump by tweeting a Trump 2020 re-election video, adding the comment:  “The Best is Yet To Come(for America)...”9 

APPWW’s False Portrayal as a Justice Group

Despite the hate and religious bigotry that APPWW and its leaders have supported and continue to promote, they have been portraying themselves as advocates for justice in trying to establish credibility and influence with elected officials and community leaders.  For example, in March 2020, APPWW leaders presented to the Redmond City Council, seeking to build partnerships and obtain sponsorship and support from the City.  In that presentation, APPWW leaders described Redmond as one of the “key cities” that APPWW “is going to be focused on,” and portrayed APPWW as a bridge-builder across communities.  However, they did not disclose the hate, religious bigotry or racism that APPWW and its leaders promote.  Rather, in response to a question from a Councilmember, they gave assurances that they support the Dalit (lower caste), Muslim, and all communities with “no barriers,” and that they “just want to bring people together… bring the community together”.10

APPWW also partnered with the U.S. Census 2020, and the PSA video APPWW created (and played at the Redmond City Council meeting) featured Ms. Sunil and Ms. Bhakti Joshi, whose blatant anti-Muslim comments/posts are discussed above. 

In addition to its partnership with U.S. Census 2020 and efforts to build credibility with local jurisdictions, APPWW has also joined — and received funding from — the Washington Census Alliance, a statewide coalition of 55 organizations led by and working in communities of color.  The Washington Census Alliance seeks to advance equity, and did not know about APPWW’s hate, racism, and Islamophobia.

In an effort to seemingly present itself as leaders of the Hindu community, APPWW further petitioned the WA State Governor, claiming discrimination because the Governor held a press conference on May 27, 2020 (related to the COVID-19 lockdown) with three faith leaders from the Abrahamic tradition and did not include a Hindu faith leader.  We certainly support inclusion of the Hindu community by the Governor’s office in any and all interfaith efforts.  However, we do not believe that APPWW or anyone they recommend would be a legitimate or credible representative of Hindu faith leadership in this or any other matter.

Finally, in an effort to further portray itself as a group advocating for justice, APPWW held an event on July 12, 2020, entitled “Bridging the Racial Divide.”  This topic is an important one, especially during the current national uprising for racial justice, and our organizations agree that we need to do more within our own communities to overcome racial bias and address anti-Black racism in particular.  But a group like APPWW, which has in fact promoted racial and religious animus itself, is not the right host for an event on how to build bridges across the racial divide. 

This July 12 event originally featured esteemed leaders such as Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza; Lori Matsukawa, long-time KING 5 Anchorwoman; Frank Irigon, Board Member of the Organization of Chinese Americans; King County Undersheriff Patti Cole-Tindall; Eddie Rye Jr., long-time Civil Rights Leader and Host of Urban Forum NW; and more.  It appears that through the personal relationships and connections of Mr. Debadutta Dash, APPWW was able to secure these respected leaders as participants in its event.  These speakers, however, were not aware of APPWW’s racism, Islamophobia, or hate-mongering, or the divisiveness that this group was creating in the community. 

We are grateful that Estela Ortega, Lori Matsukawa, Frank Irigon, and Undersheriff Patti Coles-Tindall withdrew from the event after learning more about APPWW.  Ms. Ortega stated in her message withdrawing from the event:  “APPWW clearly does not align with my values nor of my esteemed organization.  Considering the examples outlined below and in the addendum, I cannot in good faith participate in your panel.”  Rather than reflect on why these leaders (some with decades of experience in combating racism, hate, bigotry and injustice) withdrew, APPWW falsely claimed during their event that there was an organized effort to stop the dialogue about overcoming the racial divide.

After Ms. Matsukawa withdrew as moderator, APPWW replaced her with the same Mr. Bharath Gopalaswamy who moderated APPWW’s June 2020 event. As mentioned above, he supported anti-Muslim statements and hateful words spouted by anti-Muslim bigot Tarek Fatah.11  

Conclusion

We are issuing this public letter to expose APPWW and its leaders so they can no longer credibly claim to advocate for the oppressed, even as they engage in hateful conduct that attacks marginalized groups and harms our entire community.  While APPWW and its leaders have the right to free speech, we refuse to remain silent as they misrepresent themselves and seek to build credibility and influence with elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and community groups — or exploit the reputation of other well-respected community leaders who are unaware of APPWW’s true colors and agenda.  Regardless of what APPWW calls itself or what embellished rhetoric it uses to hide its anti-Muslim hate, this organization clearly does not align with values of justice and equity.  

As community organizations advocating for justice for all, we condemn APPWW’s deception and hate-mongering.  Now more than ever, as hate divides our country and communities — and white nationalist and extreme Hindu nationalist organizations gain traction — it is incumbent upon us to expose, condemn and hold APPWW accountable for its explicit and implicit sponsorship of Islamophobia and racism in our communities, and its promotion of oppression and persecution.  

We call on other organizations to join us in condemning religious intolerance, racism, and hate, and to disassociate from APPWW and its leaders as they perpetuate such wrongs in our community.  Acts of hate and oppression against some in our community hurt us all, and we stand united as a broad, diverse coalition of groups representing Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists/Agnostics, Ambedkarite (Dalit), BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), immigrants/refugees, and more in calling out, exposing and rejecting groups and individuals who perpetuate hate like APPWW.  We invite you to stand with us by completing the form here: www.tinyurl.com/CondemnAPPWW (organizations) and www.tinyurl.com/WeCondemnAPPWW (individuals).

Footnotes:

  1. On July 21, 2020, San Francisco became the sixth U.S. city to pass a resolution (11-0) opposing the CAA/NRC and reaffirming San Francisco as a welcoming city.
  2. You can watch the full video of the February 3 Seattle City Council meeting here, and the full video of the January 21 meeting here
  3. Ms. Joshi, Ms. Sunil, Mr. Dixit, and Mr. Dash all provided public comment at the January 21 meeting, and Ms. Joshi, Ms. Sunil and Mr. Dixit also spoke at the February 3 meeting.
  4. After being exposed for her bigotry, Ms. Joshi doubled down by adding the following to this thread on July 12:  “for all those on this thrd, I’d lk to inform u tat sm jihadi islamist grps hv targetd me fr this tweet. so we cannot even speak out now. we got to be scared to speak out. Afterall, its all abt righteousness. I thank God to give me such a life whr I can enjoy speaking truth always.”  This is included in the Appendix.
  5. The Appendix includes translated versions of these posts.
  6. It appears that APPWW has now made the video of this event private/unavailable as well.  But the video can be accessed here (with the exchange quoted above available between 4:15 to 12:18 in the video).
  7. APPWW has now made the previously-public video unavailable, but it can be accessed here (with the exchange quoted available between 1:01:40 to 1:03:37 in the video).
  8. APPWW has now made the previously-public video unavailable, but it can be accessed here (with the exchange quoted available between 1:07:28 to 1:07:42 in the video).
  9. APPWW has now deleted this post, but a screenshot is provided in the Appendix.
  10. The Redmond City Council meeting on March 3, 2020 featuring Mr. Ram Dixit and Ms. Archana Sunil of APPWW is available here (with the presentation by APPWW from 22:50 to 32:17).
  11. Redmond City Council President Tanika Padhye also joined and spoke at this event by APPWW.

Appendix

Here is the Appendix with documentation of the statements/posts above.

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