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Pramila Jayapal Will Continue to fight Anti-Muslim Bias in Congress

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Before her alliance was born with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pramila Jayapal began her best-known community work after she saw Arab Americans, Somali refugees and Muslim Americans being discriminated against and attacked.

In the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Jayapal established a non-profit, rightfully named Hate Free Zone. It is now known as OneAmerica, and serves to curb anti-Muslim backlash.

Now, headed to Congress under President-elect Donald Trump, who was never shy with anti-Muslim rhetoric while on the campaign trail, the Representative-elect remains undaunted.

“We have fought and won before,” she said during an interview with NBC News. “We have been through some incredibly dark times in the history of country, and we have moved forward. It hasn’t been as quickly as we want, but we are extremely powerful when we are united.”

The Democrat made history on Nov. 8 when she became the first Indian-American woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She also became the first woman elected to serve Washington’s 7th Congressional District. Prior to all of this, she had become the first person of color elected to the Washington state congressional delegation.

The 52-year-old will assume the duties of the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Rep. Jim McDermott, who once stood next to Jayapal when she announced the creation of Hate Free Zone back in 2001. McDermott announced his retirement from the seat after serving the district for nearly three decades.

As a current Washington state senator, Jayapal represents one of the most racially and economically diverse districts in the state, she said, and has advocated for an increase in Washington’s minimum wage, free two-year community college tuition, and automatic voter registration.

She won 57 percent of the vote during her Congressional election. Jayapal arrived in the U.S. at age 16 and studied at Georgetown University. She was born in Chennai, India, and was raised in Indonesia and Singapore.

“I’ve always thought of the United States as a place where so much was possible and so many opportunities were out there,” she said. “As an immigrant, I have lived, in a way, the American dream, and I want to make sure that opportunity is available for everybody.”

Outside of specific legislation, especially as a first-term member of Congress, Jayapal hopes to also lay the groundwork to push for more progressive policies.

“Policy is about real people and real stories and sometimes we forget that.” Jayapal said. “Statistics are just a compilation of people’s stories put on paper, and legislation is our attempt to address those real challenges for people.”

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US and India to hold military drills near the China-India border

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WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — The U.S. and India are preparing for mountain top drills near the Chinese border. It’s a move that’s sure to attract the attention of leaders in Beijing and comes during heightened tension between all the countries, especially after China recently launched missiles over Taiwan in a show of force. Last year’s joint high altitude exercise between the U.S. and India was in Alaska.

A top Pakistani militant who had a $3 million U.S. bounty on his head has been killed along with three others in Afghanistan. Abdul Wali, also known as Omar Khalid Khurasani, was killed in an explosion Sunday while traveling by car.

Diya TV was this year’s media sponsor at the Indiana India Business Council annual gala. This non-profit remains focused on generating economic growth, and strengthening ties between both countries. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Afghan man arrested over murders of four South Asian men in New Mexic

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Diya TV) — The Islamic community is breathing a sigh of relief after one of their own is now under arrest for the murders of four Muslim men. 51 year old Mohamed Syed is denying any involvement in the slayings and will face a judge later this week. Three of the victims are from Pakistan while the other is from Afghanistan. Authorities say Syed knew all the men but the exact motive is unclear at this time. Some outlets are reporting this could be fueled over issues in the Sunni and Shia Muslim community. 

Global outrage continues after the suicide of 30 year old Mandeep Kaur, who left India for New York, searching for a better life. Police say she ended her life after releasing a heart wrenching video, narrating details of torture at the hands of her husband who she claims abused her because she couldn’t have a son. Kaur leaves behind two young daughters. Her family in Indian is now trying to take custody of the children. 

Women’s tennis champ Serena Williams says she is preparing to wind down her stellar career. She has 23 grand slam championships. Williams implied she’s trying to play at the US Open and make it her final tournament later this month.  

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Hindu temple in New York City vandalized in suspected hate crime

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NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Assemblywoman Jennifer Rajkumar held a press conference to denounce a suspected hate crime targeting a Hindu temple in Queens. Authorities say three people toppled a Mahatma Gandhi statue on the property at the Shri Tulsi Mandir. The Indian American elected official says she’s trying to remind everyone that the core tenets of Hinduism are about inclusivity and mutual respect towards one another. This latest incident comes after another Gandhi statue was desecrated in Union Square and other parts of the world.

The list of Indian American executives tapped to lead tech companies continues to grow. Data protection technology developer Cohesity announced Sanjay Poonen is its new CEO. Poonen was VMware’s former Chief Operating Officer.  

The White House, Department of Justice and FBI are still not saying why former President Trump’s residence was raided. On Monday, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents that may have been brought there.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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