MIT President Reif- Disinvite Islamophobe and Homophobe Subramanian Swamy

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We, the undersigned, appeal to MIT President Rief to disinvite Subramanian Swamy from MIT India Conference 2019.

Subramanian Swamy is an Islamophobic, Homophobic and Casteist political operative from India who has made a career out of demonizing and vilifying marginalized communities especially religious and sexual minorities.

We were shocked to find that the organizers of MIT India Conference 2019, an event “organized by students, staff, and faculties across different departments at MIT”, have invited Swamy to be a prominent speaker at the conference.

This is especially appalling on the part of MIT, given that a little over seven years ago, faculty members of Harvard University had voted overwhelmingly to bar Swamy from teaching at the Harvard Summer School. The rare action was prompted by an op-ed penned by Swamy in which he advocated for the destruction of hundreds of Indian mosques and the disenfranchisement of non-Hindus in India. The faculty decision followed a petition endorsed by the broader Harvard student body.

That was not an isolated incident. In 2016, following the suicide of Rohith Vemula, a bright Dalit Ph.D. candidate, large scale protests by members of oppressed castes broke out all over India and abroad. Swamy called these protesters, dogs in a tweet from his official Twitter handle. 

Swamy has also been in the news for speaking out against the decriminalization of sex between consenting adults of the same gender insisting that, "It (Homosexuality) is not a normal thing. These are all American habits, there's a lot of money behind it. The Americans want to open gay bars, and it'll be a cover for paedophiles and a huge rise in HIV cases. It is a danger to our national security," In another interview, Swamy suggested that “being homosexual is "not normal", is "against Hindutva", and needs "medical research to see if it can be cured".

Denigrating people with mental and psychiatric disorders is Swamy's another forte. Swamy warned against bipolar people joining politics as they are violent and unfit to “lead a public life.”

Commitment to diversity and inclusion are fundamental values of MIT and it’s disheartening to see MIT openly endorsing a person who not only engages in divisive hateful rhetoric but openly calls for violence against marginalized groups. It’s evident that Swamy’s participation in MIT India Conference is not commensurate with the core values of MIT or with broader humanitarian values of inclusion, diversity, and respect for life.

We appeal to President Reif to disinvite Subramanian Swamy and thwart the attempts of faculty members like Prof. S. P. Kothari who, through such acts, are trying to gain acceptance for their reactionary Brahminical ideology at MIT.

Endorsed By:

Indian American Muslim Council

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus

North American Indian Muslim Association (NAIMA)

BDCTV

Muslim Peace Coalition USA

Indian Minorities Advocacy Network ImanNet