As violence against Christians continues in Orissa and other parts of India, secular-minded Indians in the United States have been rallying across the United States, condemning the violence and the government inaction.
While peace rallies and prayer vigils have been organized by individual churches and groups across the United States, for the first time, an inter-denominational meeting was organized in Bellrose, NY to chalk out a common strategy to plan a collective action in response to the ongoing violence against Christians in India.
Organized by Indian Christian Forum, the meeting was, among others, attended by leaders from the Federation of the Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) India Catholic Association of America, Federation of Indian Catholic Associations SMCC St. Thomas Ecumenical, New York ECFNJ PYFA (Pentecostal Youth), cryforindia (Philadelphia group), a Youth group headed by Tom John and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church.
The members agreed to help collect available data including video footage, a write-up on the violence and a personalized letter to all 100 Senators and the 535 Congressmen. They also agreed to conduct an email/fax campaign to do the same, after obtaining the email addresses of their respective congressman. George Abraham, an official of the United Nations and a leader of the Indian Christian Forum, gave an overview of the recent violence against Christians in India and the mute response from both the state as well as the central government in India.
He urged the Christian groups in the United State to come together, be proactive, and work on a long term strategy to respond to issues such as the ones we encounter in India. Dr Babu Joseph, Spokesman for the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, gave an elaborate account of the atrocities committed against the Christians in India. Dr. Joseph, who has been on a month long visit to the United States to meet with a number of Indian Christians and their organizations based here, reiterated the need for coordinated efforts among them.