HAF Sends Cease-and-Desist Notices to Defend Against Accusations Made in Two Al Jazeera Articles
Suhag Shukla, Indian American executive director of the Hindu American Foundation, said: “The Al Jazeera articles and those quoted in them went beyond legitimate differences of opinion or perspective and crossed the line into libel and defamation. This we will never let stand.” (hinduamerican.org photo)
India-West Staff Reporter
The Hindu American Foundation April 19 sent five cease-and-desist notices to organizations and individuals who allegedly have made libelous statements against HAF, published in two articles by Al Jazeera in the first week of April 2021, according to an HAF press release.
Receiving the legal notices, said the release, are Hindus for Human Rights co-founders Sunita Vishwanath and Raju Rajgopal; Rasheed Ahmed of the Indian American Muslim Council; and Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations’ John Prabhudoss; as well as both the author of one of the Al Jazeera articles, Raqib Hameed Naik, and Al Jazeera as an organization, who have been sent demands for retraction, public apology, and refraining from publishing further false and defamatory statements.
In addition, Rutgers-Newark Associate Prof. Audrey Truschke was served with a cease-and-desist notice due to her amplification of these allegedly libelous articles on social media, along with a pattern of her own defamatory statements about HAF, the press release said, adding that Truschke recently posted on social media the allegedly libelous accusation that HAF and members of its Board of Directors coordinated a campaign of violent threats against her.
“As the largest professionally-staffed Hindu advocacy organization in the United States, serving the three million strong Hindu American community, HAF is highly visible and often subject to harassment and abuse,” said Suhag Shukla, HAF’s executive director. “The Al Jazeera articles and those quoted in them went beyond legitimate differences of opinion or perspective and crossed the line into libel and defamation. This we will never let stand,” the Indian American director said.
The articles in question, published in the first week of April 2021, presented what HAF said are “utterly false claims that HAF has improperly used COVID-19 related Paycheck Protection Program Small Business Administration relief funds to support hatred, Islamophobia, violence and ‘slow genocide’ against Christians and Muslims in India, and is linked to allegedly Hindu nationalist and Hindu supremacist organizations in India.”
The HAF press release added: “The Al Jazeera articles went on to falsely claim that HAF serves as a U.S. ‘front’ for several India-based organizations. Furthermore, HAF is accused of lobbying on the behalf of the Government of India.”
HAF leaders stated, according to the release, that all of these claims are verifiably false; and HAF’s relevant financial documents are publicly available at www.hinduamerican.org. HAF’s leadership strongly rejected insinuations of dual loyalty to India, associations with foreign organizations or Islamophobia, and expressed a determination to fight these accusations in U.S. courts, the release noted.