Biden economic policy adviser linked to Kashmiri extremists

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
J.M. Phelps (

Sameera Fazili (Nat'l Economic Council)President Joe Biden's push for diversity within his administration could open a window to harm U.S.-India relations, especially since one of his appointments has been known to sympathize with Kashmiri extremists.

Biden recently named Sameera Fazili, an Indian-American of Kashmiri origin, as deputy director of the National Economic Council (NEC), a forum responsible for advising the president on U.S. and global economic policy. On February 24, Fazili (pictured) became the first Muslim-American woman to hold a White House press briefing.

Fazili is taking part in an administration lauded for having one of the most diverse cabinets in history – and her appointment as NEC deputy director comes with a bit of controversy. For example, she was recently listed as a member of Stand With Kashmir (SWK) and has previously taken part in a demonstration in Atlanta, which gathered to protest the revocation of Article 370 in India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration.

Benjamin Baird is deputy director of Middle East Forum's Islamist Watch (IW), as well as the organization's director of Islamism in Politics (IIP). He commends Fazili's experience in the financial sector, but quickly points out she has consorted with a number of contentious Islamist groups.


"Stand with Kashmir is probably one of the most troubling relationships that she currently has," Baird tells One News Now. "This is problematic because SWK isn't just a harmless hashtag. While SWK is a group which appears to made up of many members who are considered intellectuals, the movement itself has been known to praise and defend the actions of violent Islamists."

The IW deputy director continues: "They are activists – and the origins of the group are shadowy. They tend to sympathize with really some bad actors in India, [often referring] to them as activists and characterizing them as peaceful protesters when in fact, they are militants.

"[These militants] are jihadists who want to use violence in their quest to make Kashmir an autonomous state."

The fact that Fazili is associated with a group like SWK and now holds a senior position in the White House leads Baird to believe her presence could potentially harm U.S.-India relations.

"How is she going to treat economic policy when it comes to India?" he wonders. After all, he points out, experts in India-U.S. relations have said that she needs to be monitored. Baird suggests watching for policies that would be favorable to Kashmiri militants.

"Years ago," he adds, "Fazili also spoke at an American Muslim Alliance [AMA] conference where she trained young Muslims on political leadership."

At the time, according to Baird, the organization was known for making several anti-Semitic comments and had endorsed the use of violence by Palestinians against the state of Israel. For this reason, Baird says, Hillary Clinton actually returned a $50,000 donation from AMA during her Senate campaign.

He points out that while AMA was making negative, anti-Semitic comments, Fazili was actively participating with the group.

"These kinds of relationships aren't just a concern for the people of India; instead, they further support the need for her actions to be monitored," he concludes.

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