The Rediff US Special/Aseem Chhabra
When the Bajrang Dal's official site in the US -- HinduUnity.org -- was shut
down by its service provider, the group approached a most unlikely ally --
Kahane.org, a radical Jewish group that is banned in Israel and is on the State
Department's list of terrorist organizations. The common goal that brought the
two groups and the sites together -- their dislike and mistrust of Muslims and
As Michael Guzofsky, the director of Kahane.org and the Brooklyn-based Hatikva
Jewish Identity Center, said: "If someone is coming to kill me and that same
person wants to kill somebody else and together we can defend ourselves, you
have to be insane not to band together against the common enemy that wants us
The Hindu Unity site first went on a server hosted by Addr.com, of Greenwood
Village, Colorado in February 2000. The Hindu Unity group -- led by its elusive
leader in New York, Rohit Vyasman, 30 -- was responsible for the design and the
content of the site, while Addr.com would load the site on the Internet. The fee
to host the site was a mere $ 9.95 per month.
The Hindu Unity site would regularly post messages and editorial content against
Muslims in India and in Pakistan. Against the backdrop of dripping blood each
page contained interpretations of Indian history, verses from the Koran and
other anti-Muslim statements, presented from the Hindutva point of view. Little
wonder Addr.com received complaints about the site.
Addr.com does not keep record of the number of complaints it receives.
Matt Johnson, an Addr.com representative, said even if the company had received
one complaint, it would have investigated the site. "If you take a look at the
Hindu Unity site now, there are several features such as the hit list and the
radical quotes that can be offensive to some people, so we can't host a site
like that," he said.
The hit list that Johnson mentions identifies 32 individuals as enemies of
Hindutva. Among them are Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf (the top name on
the list), Pope John Paul II, Osama Bin Laden, evangelist Pat Robertson, Ku Klux
Klan leader David Duke, former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, painter M
F Husain, actress Shabana Azmi and director Deepa Mehta. There are a few Indian
journalists on the list -- Asian Age editor in chief M J Akbar, Kuldip
Nayar (who is referred to as a resident of Pakistan) and rediff.com
columnist Dilip D'Souza. A surprise name on the list is Kanwal Rekhi, since the
group he founded -- The Indus Entrepreneurs -- has decided to invest in
The list also includes two 'anti-Hindutva pseudo-scholars' -- Amitava Kumar,
associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and Vijay
Prashad, assistant professor of international studies at Trinity College at
Hartford, CT. Prashad is referred to as a 'pretend to be Hindu bastard' and the
site warns him to beware since the Soldiers of Hindutva are watching him.
Johnson said Addr.com tried to negotiate with Vyasman and his group.
"Eventually we realized they were not going to change the content or the
approach of the site," he said.
Vyasman, who initially agreed to be interviewed for this article, later changed
his position. In emails to this reporter he said he was too busy. An interview
was arranged with another Hindu Unity member, but this individual is based in
Mumbai and does not have first hand knowledge about the relationship between the
HinduUnity.org and the Kahane.org sites.
When Addr.com dropped HinduUnity.org as one of its clients, Vyasman called
Guzofsky's office in Brooklyn.
Guzofsky is a follower of Rabbi Meir David Kahane, a Brooklyn-born, former
member of the Israeli Knesset, who called for the expulsion of Arabs from
Israel. Kahane was assassinated in Manhattan in 1990, by an Islamic militant.
Late last year Kahane's 34-year-old son and political heir, Binyamin, was killed
in an ambush in the West Bank. Binyamin's wife, Talia, 31, was also killed in
the same ambush.
Guzofsky was in Israel when he received the call from Vyasman, but called back
in a couple of hours. Soon an alternative arrangement was made. Guzofsky
connected Vyasman to Gary Wardell, a businessman in Annandale, VA. Wardell's web
service business now hosts both the HinduUnity.org and Kahane.org sites. The two
sites also have a mutual link.
"We heard the site was taken down because of Muslim pressure and that is
something we have ourselves experienced," Guzofsky said. "The Hindu group was
taken down for its views in America and especially on the Internet which is the
ultimate vehicle for free speech. Regardless of their views they have the right
to preach them. It is clear that certain Muslim groups in America will do
everything in their power to silence Jews or Hindus or anyone."
Guzofsky said the Kahane.org practiced the principle of free speech and allowed
people to post anti-Muslim or anti-Jewish messages. "Sometimes there is nasty
language and we do not approve of it, but we are not there to censor it," he
HinduUnity.org also maintains a message board, but with a very different
approach to free speech. The top section of the message board clearly states:
'All anti-Hindu posts and propaganda will be deleted. All messages that contain
threats, promote harm/violence will be deleted.'
Since the strengthening of the relationship between the two sites earlier this
summer, the two groups have joined in supporting each other's causes. Guzofsky
and some of his supporters recently attended a rally outside the United Nations
protesting the Taleban's edict that all Hindus in Afghanistan must wear a symbol
which would distinguish them from the rest of the Afghan population. The rally
was called by several Hindu groups in the New York area, and Hindu Unity and
Vyasman were among the sponsors. The Hindu Unity groups have marched in a couple
of anti-Palestinian and pro-Israel rallies.
Guzofsky said in the past the two groups had not met as often as he would have
liked to. "I think this is the beginning of what will hopefully be a fruitful
and mutually beneficial relationship for both Hindus and Jews," he added.
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