Last month, the Indian police, under pressure from Israel and pro-Israel Hindu opposition groups, took into custody Paul Larude, a US citizen, from the middle of a conference attended by 20,000 students and organized by the Student Islamic Organization of India (SIO) in Tirur (Kerala). Paul is co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement (FGM). It’s reported that nine other scholars from the Middle East attended the said conference. He was deported by Indian government on December 31, 2012.
Police authorities have claimed that Paul Larudee was in India on a tourist visa which did not allow him to speak at a political conference which criticized India’s friendly country – Israel. In order to speak at a rally or conference in India, Paul needed a “special visa”, which SIO had applied six month ahead of the conference, but Indian embassy in Washington kept delaying it. India, the so-called the “world’s largest democracy”, along with North Korea, which have such visa restriction on freedom of speech.
Israeli government has maintained very close relations with the anti-Muslim religious and political Hindu groups in India and Hindus in diaspora. Last week, India’s Union Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, had criticized India’s Hindutva groups for collaborating with Israel in order to fan anti-Muslim hatred.
Paul Larudee 46, is son of Iranian Presbyterian minister. He is married to an American missionary. Both of them were passengers on board the second boat to Gaza – SS Liberty in 2008. Paul is a columnist, author, Fulbright-Hayes lecturer and a human rights activist in San Francisco Bay area. In summer 2006, Paul spent two weeks at Ben Gurion Airport jail before being deported – for his criticism of Israel’s Security Wall.
The other co-founder of the FGM, is US Jewish author and human rights activist, Greta Berlin. In July, 2003 she was wounded by Israeli gunfire, while participating in a non-violent protest against Israeli occupation. Foreign human rights activists, such as, David Barsamian, John Esposito, Yvonne Ridley, Wilhelm Langthaler, etc. were also denied the so-called “speech visa” by the Indian embassies in the past.
Paul Larudee has penned his recent political racism experience in India, titled ‘When did India Become Part of Israel’s Stable?‘, which can be read here.
“Regrettably, India has now become a home-grown Raj, choosing sides and fomenting discord between competing interests as a means of governing and controlling, in the best traditions of its colonial past. Thus, for example, conservative Salafist clerics are welcome when they attend conferences on tourist visas. The Salafist treatment is part of a Machiavellian formula hatched by India with its newest partner, Israel. Salafists deserve free speech as much as anyone, but the reason India accords more of it to them is on the advice of Israel. Israel promotes Islamophobia as part of its strategy of demonizing Palestinians and Arabs, a majority of whom are Muslims, and the Salafist brand of Islam fits Israel’s agenda of portraying Islam as an extremist ideology. This stokes the flames of the more extreme nationalist Hindu groups in India and plays on the fears of many other non-Muslim groups, as well. Since Pakistan is an external Muslim enemy, such demonization helps to unify non-Muslim India and permit popular tolerance of greater government control as well as encroachment of security forces on civil rights and privacy,” wrote Paul.
Paul’s latest article, titled ‘Judaization = Racism? Really?, is worth reading here. In the article Paul claims that the on-going establishment of illegal Jewish settlements are not a new process of the Judaization of Arab Palestine – but the process began in 1948 with the establishment of Israel – a colonial entity.