Addressing fabrications by smear artists angry at my opposition to supremacy
Primarily in response to my journalism regarding US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s association with the RSS-BJP, a number of her supporters as well as advocates of the RSS-BJP have propagated various lies about me. Here are some of the most common, debunked.
Pieter Friedrich is a “Khalistani separatist.”
The Khalistan movement is a separatist movement by Sikhs seeking to make the Indian state of Punjab into a separate, sovereign state. I am not a Sikh. I have never spoken or written — to date — about Khalistan. I have never appeared at a Khalistani event. As per the UN Charter, I endorse the right of all people anywhere in the world to demand self-determination. However, I am not involved in nor do I endorse any specific movement for self-determination.
Pieter Friedrich is a “Christian theocrat.”
I routinely write and speak against religious nationalism and theocracy in all its forms, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, or any other variety. As I have written elsewhere, I was raised in a Christian fundamentalist household where Christian theocracy was specifically taught as a desirable goal. With encouragement from my parents, I once — circa 2003, when I was about 18 years old — identified with this goal. I have since, for approximately the past 15 years, rejected this goal and the entire concept of theocracy whole-heartedly. This is why so much of my public rhetoric focuses on opposition to religious nationalism and theocracy.
Pieter Friedrich’s parents were missionaries to India who were “kicked out” for trying to convert tribals.
There’s nothing wrong with being a missionary to India, and if my parents were, that in no way delegitimizes my work. Yet my parents have never been to India or anywhere else in Asia.
Pieter Friedrich is “anti-Hindu.”
I have never written or spoken against Hindus. I do not oppose Hindus or Hinduism. I routinely remark upon my love for Hindus. The entirety of my public work which deals with anything remotely related to Hinduism is in opposition to 1) Hindu nationalism, ie religious nationalism and 2) the caste system.
Pieter Friedrich has “harassed Hindu-American children.”
Perhaps no more disgusting lie has been disseminated about me. I have never in any way whatsoever “harassed Hindu-American children.” Notably, this lie is repeatedly propagated as fact by people who present no photographic or videographic evidence whatsoever — nor any details about what the alleged “harassment” constituted. As someone who grew up in a large family, I was not only raised with extreme respect for children, but taught to care for them and treat them with gentleness and kindness.
Pieter Friedrich is a “racist.”
This narrative is primarily propagated by advocates of Hindu nationalism who seize on my criticism of Mohandas Gandhi as “proof” that I am a racist. Notably, they ignore two things. First, opposition to a particular figure cannot logically be construed as prejudice against an entire race. Second, my opposition to Gandhi is itself premised largely — though not exclusively — on the fact that he himself was a racist who propagated prejudice against and segregation of black Africans.
Pieter Friedrich is a “white supremacist.”
I routinely speak and write against white supremacy, Nazism, neo-Nazism, the alt-right, and supremacy in all its forms, including Hindu supremacy. Places where I have done so include at mosques and at rallies where I participate alongside Hindus, minorities from India, Jews, and African-Americans, including representatives from Black Lives Matter. I have repeatedly spoken in public forums against police brutality towards African-Americans. My work is undergirded by a deep philosophical and ideological opposition towards white supremacy.
Pieter Friedrich claims that Gandhi “allied himself with Hitler.”
This allegation has been repeatedly disseminated, with the statement provided in quotation marks, suggesting it is a direct quote from me, but no source is ever provided. I have never made this statement. I have, in 2013, publicly stated that Gandhi “praised Hitler.” This is, depending on one’s interpretation, true. However, I no longer make any such assertion as there are far better reasons — which are not open to interpretation — for opposing Gandhi.
Pieter Friedrich “goes all around the world campaigning to remove MK Gandhi’s statues.”
I have publicly appeared in exactly five places where I demanded removal of Gandhi’s statues: Sacramento, San Francisco, Fresno, Cerritos, and Davis. All are cities in California. As a native Californian, I am flattered by the implication that appearing in a few of California’s beautiful cities constitutes going “all around the world,” but as a human being, I also understand that there is a world outside California.
Pieter Friedrich has attempted to “forcibly remove Gandhi statues.”
I’ve written and spoken against Gandhi, including against the erection of Gandhi statues. I’ve called for removal of statues—sometimes in conjunction with calling for removal of statues of Confederate figures. But only the disingenuous interpret exercising my freedom of speech as an attempt to “forcibly remove” statues.
Pieter Friedrich “promotes the ideology of those who espouse violent separatism in India.”
Which ideology this is, exactly, is unclear. I publicly promote an ideology of liberty and peace. I routinely denounce violence by any and all parties — particularly aggression — and adhere to the Non-Aggression Principle. I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that “violence begets violence” and that “hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” As previously noted, I have no involvement in any separatist movement, either in India or anywhere else in the world, much less one which pursues “violent separatism.”