Washington DC: US Religious Freedom Panel Ex-Chief, Johnnie Moore, emphasizes the need for former President Barack Obama to focus on praising India rather than criticizing it. Moore, a former commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), believes that India’s diversity is its strength and that it deserves compliments as the world’s largest democracy. His remarks come in response to Obama’s recent interview with CNN, where the former president suggested that President Joe Biden should address the issue of religious freedom in India during his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
#WATCH | Johnnie Moore, former Commissioner of United States Commission on International Religious Freedom speaks about PM Modi's recent US visit, says," It wasn't just a piece of history for India. It was a piece of history for the US as well (PM Modi's visit to US)…… pic.twitter.com/viXKo0d8Sa— ANI (@ANI) June 26, 2023
In his conversation with ANI, Moore, an evangelical leader, expressed his belief that India, like any other country, is not perfect but should be acknowledged for its unparalleled diversity. He stated, “India is the most diverse country in human history. It’s not a perfect country, just like the United States, it’s not a perfect country, but its diversity is its strength, and we should be complimenting the largest democracy in the world every chance that we can, that we have.”
Obama’s interview with CNN shed light on his concerns about ethnic minority rights in India and the potential consequences if these rights are not protected. He asserted that neglecting the rights of ethnic minorities could lead to internal conflicts and a division within India. However, he also recognized the importance of discussing these complex issues openly, acknowledging that the world is not black and white.
The USCIRF, established by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, is a US federal government commission that provides policy recommendations to the US government. Its commissioners are appointed by the President and leaders of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Moore emphasized the significance of celebrating Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to the US, suggesting that criticism should be conveyed privately to friends while public platforms should be utilized for praising democratic alliances. Disagreeing with Obama’s sentiments, Moore highlighted that even in his critique, Obama couldn’t help but compliment Prime Minister Modi, acknowledging the positive experiences he had with him.
Furthermore, Moore, who also served as a spiritual advisor to former President Donald Trump, commended India’s diverse democracy and advocated for recognizing and appreciating the country on every possible occasion. It’s worth mentioning that Moore faced sanctions from China in 2021 due to his work as a member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Baijayant Jay Panda, Vice President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, criticized Obama’s remarks, calling it preposterous to compare India and China when addressing their respective human rights situations. Panda asserted that it is inappropriate for the former US President to lecture India in the same vein as China regarding its treatment of ethnic minorities.
India responded strongly to Obama’s comments, with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pointing out that the United States had conducted military actions in six Muslim-majority countries during his presidency. Sitharaman defended Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to religious tolerance and highlighted the numerous awards and honors he received from Muslim-majority nations.
In summary, the former USCIRF commissioner, Johnnie Moore, urges Barack Obama to focus on acknowledging India’s diversity and praising its accomplishments rather than criticizing it. Moore believes that India’s status as the largest democracy in the world deserves recognition and compliments. The conversation stems from Obama’s recent interview with CNN, where he expressed concerns about ethnic minority rights in India. However, Moore argues that private discussions are more suitable for criticism, while public platforms should be used to foster diplomatic relationships and celebrate historic visits.