|December 14, 2008.
Dear President-elect Obama and the Presidential
As you by now are aware, a highly accomplished member of your team, Sonal Shah, has been targeted in a smear campaign in which she is falsely accused of supporting groups that condone violence against Christians and Muslims. In fact, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) even accused you, President-elect Obama as "condoning an organization that supports terrorism aimed at Muslims and Christians."
The organization these radical groups speak of is the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which organized many fundraisers and charity drives in Hindu temples across the United States following the tragic 2001 earthquakes in Gujarat, India. Ms. Shah, in an effort to give back to her community, participated in these drives.
But Ms. Shah, in her actions even more than her words, has proven that she is a dedicated, civil servant, not a radical extremist. After observing the 2001 earthquake tragedy, Shah co-founded Indicorps, a non-religious, non-political organization that sends young Indian-Americans to volunteer in poor, remote villages in India. During her work at Google Inc., she supported small and medium sized enterprise development in the developing world.
While some members of the Indian-American community may have objected to her appointment, I want to assure you that the majority of Indian-Americans of different religious background support her and what she represents for America. We believe she is highly deserving of the position she has been given in the Presidential Transition Team and look forward to watching her continued success. Organizations like USINPAC work to increase the presence of Indian-Americans like Sonal in the public sector, because we believe that they can bring the same work ethic, innovation, and success to our government as they have to the fields of medicine, technology, and engineering.
We hope that you will continue to support Sonal Shah for and her commitment to public service and to her country.
Sanjay Puri, Chairman, USINPAC
& the members of USINPAC