We must support Muslims and other minority communities: Pichai

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google CEO rebukes Donald Trump’s Muslim ban: ‘America was and is a country of immigrants’.

Sundar Pichai, Chennai-born CEO of Google who came to the U.S as a university student and rose to be one of the highest corporate leaders, recounted his own experience to rebut on Saturday the anti-immigration rhetoric that looms large over the country. Two days after Facebook founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg spoke out against rising intolerance against Muslims, particularly in the United States, his Google counterpart, Sundar Pichai, raised similar concerns. “It’s so disheartening to see the intolerant discourse playing out in the news these days — statements that our country would be a better place without the voices, ideas and the contributions of certain groups of people, based solely on where they come from, or their religion,” Pichai wrote in a blog post.

After Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s India-born head Sundar Pichai has come out in support of Muslims saying it is important to have a diverse mix of voices and backgrounds to build a company or leading a country. Business tycoon Donald Trump, who is a top runner for the Republican Party presidential candidature, had recently called for closing the U.S. to Muslim immigrants.

Pichai also linked the success of Google to the “vibrant mix of races and cultures” among its employees. “Let’s not let fear defeat our values,” Mr. Although Pichai agreed that America was the land of opportunities, he identified open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance of new Americans as their defining characteristics. “And that is no coincidence — America, after all, was and is a country of immigrants.” The recent terror attacks in Paris and in West Asia by the Islamic State (ISIS) have sparked outrage in the US, where ordinary Muslims are targeted for the acts of the terror outfit. Everyone has the right to their views, but it’s also important that those who are less represented know that those are not the views of all, Pichai added.

Many have wondered whether to take Trump seriously, a hesitation Pichai appeared to share. “I debated whether to post this, because lately it seems that criticism of intolerance just gives more oxygen to this debate,” Pichai wrote. Even though Trump gained support at home for his statement, U.K proposed banning Trump from its country and this was met by huge support from its populace. After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others,” he wrote on his page. Trump’s remarks provoked worldwide outrage but condemnation by other Republican candidates has been muted, even as a section of the U.S media continues to cheer him. Describing his move from India to America 22 years ago, Pichai said he saw how hard work opened a lot of doors for him in the “land of opportunity”. “And I’ve felt as much a part of this country, as I felt growing up in India.

My experience is obviously not unique… America provided access to opportunities that simply didn’t exist for many of us before we arrived,” Pichai said. He also speaks of his own internal debate whether to write about the issue, as it could just fuel the fire, but concludes that “I feel we must speak out — particularly those of us who are not under attack.”

All of that makes our company an exciting and special place to be, and allows us to do great things together.” The idea to ban Muslims, which Trump calls “common sense,” has riled up many American leaders as an odious suggestion and spurred leaders of political and social activist groups to create the campaign #WeAreBetterThanThis. The more pragmatic fear about Trump’s rhetoric — and those who agree with it, which seems to be a large number of people — is that it will lead to increased hate and violence. Pichai said it was diversity that made Google a “special place”. “We are urgently working to become much more diverse, because it’s so important to our future success,” he said.

Of the over 1,000 incidents of religious hate crimes in 2014, Muslims were the second-highest target behind Jews, with 18% of the total number of incidents directed at them.

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