Interference in India’s internal affairs, lies about CAA, fearmongering about Ram Mandir: Meet Asif Mahmood, Pakistani-origin ‘activist’ appointed as USCIRF Commissioner

USCIRF and Asif Mahmood

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), known for spreading falsehoods about India and its internal affairs, appointed a Pakistani-American ‘activist’ named Asif Mahmood as one of its Commissioners.

The US Federal Government Commission confirmed the development in a statement on Friday (17th May). Asif Mahmood claims to be an ‘inter-faith community organiser’ and an advocate for ‘human rights campaigns’ in South Asia.

Owing to his close ties with the Democratic Party, he was appointed to USCIRF by Democrat Hakeem Jeffries (Minority Leader in the US House of Representatives).

The appointment of Asif Mahmood to the USCIRF is not without reason. He has been at the forefront of peddling anti-India propaganda under the guise of ‘human rights’ activism.

Earlier this month, he was seen peddling the conspiracy theory about India’s supposed involvement in the killing of Khalistani extremists in the United States, Canada and Pakistan.

Asif Mahmood did not provide any evidence to substantiate his outrageous claims. Interestingly, a similar attempt was made by leftist news outlets such as The Guardian and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News to falsely implicate India in extra-territorial killings.

His tweets on the matter reveal his prejudiced mindset against India.

“Why #India is so obsessed with #Canada. While #HarderpSinghNajjar murder case is still matter of huge contention between the two countries and now an other even bigger allegation about Indian involvement in the the Canadian elections. India owes truthful and transparent explanation to the Democratic World,” the USCIRF Commissioner wrote.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

Asif Mahmood claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government banned 25000 Islamic schools aka madrassas in the State for election gain. “Religious freedom is a basic human right,” he stated.

The new USCIRF Commissioner conveniently withheld the fact that the Yogi Adityanath government took the decision after the Allahabad High Court declared the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act of 2004 as “unconstitutional.”

The court had, in fact, instructed the Uttar Pradesh government to devise a plan to accommodate madrassa students in the formal education system.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

Asif Mahmood was also seen misleading Indian Muslims about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a humanitarian law which aims to fast-track the citizenship of religious minorities who took refuge in India following persecution in the neighbouring Islamic countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Citizenship Amendment Act #CAA2019 being implemented in #India intentionally coincided with the #Ramadan2024 to send a clear message to the #Muslims of India that you are no longer equal citizens. Religious Freedom at its lowest and Religious Discrimination at its highest expose India and #Modi of its shallow Secular Claims,” the Pakistani-origin ‘activist’ alleged.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

The new USCIRF Commissioner suffered a prolonged meltdown on X (formerly Twitter) on 22nd January this year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in the Pran Prathistha ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

“Is the #RamTemple inauguration by Prime Minister #Modi and circumstances around it the beginning of the end of Secular #India? ReligousFreedom is at its the lowest point in India today and civilized world needs to pay attention,” he whined.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

Propagating Pakistani agenda on Jammu and Kashmir

True to his Pakistani roots, the human rights ‘activist’ was seen repeating the talking points of the Directorate of the Inter–Services Public Relations (DGISPR) and calling for the secession of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir from the Union of India.

“Another sad and dark day for #Democracy #Justice and #SelfDeterminationRight for #Kashmiris in a long struggle for them and their children future. #US and rest of the Democratic world should pay attention on encroachment of #India in #Kashmir,” Asif Mahmood brazened out.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

In 2021, the newly appointed USCIRF Commissioner extended support to the controversial US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, and hoped that he would rake up India’s internal affairs such as the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the motivated anti-farm law protests.

Garcetti had previously alluded to the disinformation that CAA is discriminatory in nature.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

Tarnishing India’s image on a global scale

In April this year, the Pakistani-American ‘activist’ was seen fearmongering about the state of Indian democracy and religious minorities in the country. He claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda to ‘scapegoat’ Muslims.

“We all need to stand up to save future and lives of quarter Billion Muslims and other Minorities in India,” he brazened out.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

Asif Mahmood also sought to exploit the Kuki-Meitei ethnic clash in the Indian state of Manipur and the so-called ‘persecution’ of Muslims by the Indian State.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

In a tweet posted in June last year, the USCIRF Commissioner passed his preconceived notions about India as the gospel truth. He hoped to tarnish the image of the country as an ‘unsafe place for religious minorities’ globally.

“It’s important to bring up the brutalities against #Muslims, #Sikhs, #Christians and other minorities in #India while #PMModi is in #WashingtonDC. #HumanRights protection and respect should be the foundation of any relationship #US has anywhere. Inclusive India is good for all,” he wrote.

Screengrab of the tweet by Asif Mahmood

Lies peddled by USCIRF against India

OpIndia had recently reported on the anti-India bias of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

In its annual report, USCIRF cited the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) and demanded the inclusion of India in the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPCs) alongside Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, and Vietnam.

The rationale floated by USCIRF for such a drastic measure was alleged ‘systematic, ongoing, (and) egregious violations’ of religious freedom by the Indian government.

This is despite the fact that throughout its 96-page long report, the US federal government commission failed to provide a single instance of the incumbent Modi government’s direct involvement in any violation of religious freedom of any individual.

2024 USCIRF report on India, Page 30

OpIndia found that USCIRF dedicated two pages of its report (Pages 30 and 31) to portray a falsified image of India to the rest of the world.

It lamented that India has been upfront in enforcing the humanitarian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against domestic terrorists and the cracking down on foreign funding of dubious NGOs through the cancellation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences, and preventing forced conversions and illegal cow slaughter in line with constitutional principles.

USCIRF then went on to make sweeping claims about the use of anti-conversion, anti-cow slaughter laws, UAPA and FCRA cancellation to arbitrarily detain, monitor and target ‘religious minorities’ and those advocating for them.

It came to the rescue of the Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a think tank whose FCRA licence was cancelled for violating foreign funding norms. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs cited reports published by CPR on “current affairs programs” as one of the reasons for the cancellation.

2024 USCIRF report on India, Page 31

The US Federal Government Commission also defended NewsClick, even though it reportedly used funds received from China to procure weapons during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) violence in the National Capital. It also attempted to whitewash the sins of ‘activist’ Teesta Setalvad.

USCIRF also sobbed over the detention of evangelists for the deceitful conversion of vulnerable and unsuspecting indigenous people (Adivasis) to Christianity. It also attempted to falsely impart a communal colour to the Kuki-Meitei ethnic clash in the Indian state of Manipur.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) threw its weight behind Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ‘journalist’ Sabrina Sidiqqui, infamous for her anti-India rants, and ended up exposing the hypocrisy of the White House.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom extended support to journalist turned-terror financer Irfan Mehraj and cried foul over the Supreme Court’s validation of the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dibakar Dutta: Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at