Hindu American Foundation takes legal action relating to two articles in Al Jazeera

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On Monday, April 19, the Hindu American Foundation sent five cease and desist notices to organizations and individuals who it says have allegedly made libelous statements against HAF, published in two articles by Al Jazeera in the first week of April 2021.

Receiving the legal notices 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, a press release from HAF said.

Also, both the author of one of the Al Jazeera articles, Raqib Hameed Naik, and Al Jazeera as an organization, have all been sent demands for retraction, public apology, and refraining from publishing further false and defamatory statements, the press release said.

In addition, HAF said that Rutgers-Newark Associate Professor Audrey Truschke was served with a cease and desist notice for what the Hindu American Foundation said was “due to her amplification of these libelous articles on social media, along with a pattern of her own defamatory statements about HAF.”

“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,” Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF’s executive director is quoted saying in the press release. “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,” Shukla added.

Hindu American Foundation says that “The articles in question, published in the first week of April 2021, presented 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 Al Jazeera articles went on to falsely claim that HAF serves as a US “front” for several India-based organizations. Furthermore, HAF is accused of lobbying on the behalf of the Government of India,” HAF said in its press release.

The HAF has strongly rejected all these claims. “HAF asserts that statements made about HAF by named organizations in the United States, as well as Al Jazeera’s publication of these statements in its articles, is in reckless disregard of the truth and with clear malice, fully meeting the definition of libel under US law,” it said in the press release.

 

 

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