Worried over frequent hate crimes against Indian-origin people in the US, a senior Indian-American Congressman has urged President Donald Trump to refrain from using Islamophobic language that pits one group against another.
“We’re certainly hearing that there’s some anxiety,” Indian-American Congressman Dr Ami Bera, a three-term Democratic lawmaker from California told PTI.
Now increasingly playing the role of mentorship to other aspiring Indian-American politicians and other elected leaders, Bera said it is important for community to speak out against such hate crimes.
“It’s not reflective of who I believe we are as a country, we’re a nation of immigrants and I think the majority of Americans understand we’re a nation of immigrants,” he said.
He is the senior most Indian-American lawmaker in the US House of Representatives which now has three other members from the community Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal.
Bera, 52, said he would like President Trump to speak out more forcefully against these hate crimes.
“In fact, some of the hateful language that he used on the campaign trail I think has actually allowed some of the groups (involved in hate crimes) to come out of the shadows,” he said.
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“You’ve seen some of the high profile crimes, like what happened in Kansas, what happened in Washington State and South Carolina … Again, that’s not the country that I believe we are as America,” said Bera.
Though the number might not be that big, but the community is now a vibrant part in the US, he said.
“It’s the most affluent demographic in America. Many of the start-ups and the innovations that are occurring in America are coming out of the Indian-American community.”
“Go to any State across this country, you have Indian American doctors, entrepreneurs, engineers working in fully integrated into the community. So, we are a part of the fabric of America. I think it’s important for the community to come together and let America know that this is not okay. It’s not who the US is,” he asserted.
Urging Trump to stop tweeting, Bera said he would tell the US President to not use language that pits one group against another.
“Certainly, he has used some Islamophobic language. The travel ban is the wrong direction because I think it’s targeting the specific group of individuals,” he said, adding that he is also worried a bit about America’s reputation taking a hit across the world.
“I think it’s important for people like myself to speak out and make sure people around the world and places in India understand we’ve not changed what our values are, the people of America haven’t changed.”
“Many of us believe the strength of America is this integration of different cultures, different religions, people coming together. That’s unique in the world and that’s something which has always made America a special place,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)