Hindus for Trump: behind the uneasy alliance with rightwing US politics

Three weeks before the election, Trump made a brief but rousing appearance at the Republican Hindu Coalition’s (RHC) Humanity United Against Terror charity concert, an event framed around raising money to combat “radical Islamic terrorism”, particularly for Hindus from Bangladesh and Kashmir.
“I’m a big fan of Hindu, and I’m a big fan of India,” Trump told hundreds of enthusiastic attendees in Edison, New Jersey, a town known for its sizable South Asian population.

Terrorism made for a dissonant theme on a night filled with several upbeat music and dance performances by Indian choreographer Prabu Deva and Signature, the dance group known for competing on Britain’s Got Talent.

The introduction to the national anthem featured a simulated terrorist attack, in which two couples dancing on stage were suddenly attacked by two men covered in brown cloth, who were shouting and wielding toy guns with green lightsabers attached. Men dressed as US Navy Seals entered to defeat the terrorists. They all stood together for the Star-Spangled Banner before dancing to Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA.

Kamal Singh of Edison, New Jersey, said he believed Trump, who he referred to as “the big leader”, will stand with India in fighting terrorist organizations from Pakistan. “Trump is for peace and he’s fighting against terrorism,” Singh said.

Trump, after lighting Diwali lamps onstage with the RHC’s founding chairman, Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, said: “The Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House.

“Generations of Hindu and Indian Americans have strengthened our country,” he said. “Your values and hard work, education and enterprise, have truly enriched our nation.”

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