Richard L. Benkin, Ph.D.
Vice President; Gallagher Bassett Services,
Co-Founder & Director, Forcefield, NFP
Co-Founder & President, The Balochistan Project
Founder, Interfaith StrengthIndependent Human Rights Activist
Expert legal witness regarding South Asia, and its peoples, and asylum requests.
Lecturer and Speaker
1987-2000: Consultant; Owner/Operator various health care facilities.
1980-1994: College Lecturer
1980-1987: Community Activist; Manager, Professional Health Care
1974-1980: Assistant Professor, College instructor; Sociology and Social Sciences;
Special Advisor to The
Member Islam-Israel Fellowship Council
Advisory Board Member
Member, South Asia Forum
Member, StandWithUs Chicago Advisory Board
International Advisor, Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote (Bangladesh National Hindu Grand Alliance)
Ambassador, Bangladesh International Mediation Society
Steering Committee, To Protect Our Heritage PAC
Editorial Board, Index Centre for Research Journals
The Social and Cultural Development of Jewish Communities
in Eastern Europe, 1976 Doctoral Dissertation,
The Book of Miriam, 2005 (In editing.)
A Quiet Case of Ethnic
Cleansing (monograph on Bangladeshi Hindus), published in
A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing, 2012; Akshaya Prakasahan
"Ethnic Cleansing: The Neglected Case of the Hindus of Bangladesh", State, Society, and Minorities in South and Southeast Asia, edited by Sunil Kukreja, 2015; Lexington Books
What is Moderate Islam?, Lexington Books; to be released April 2017
Essays and social commentaries on South Asia, constituent nations, and peoples; ethnic cleansing of Hindus; the Middle East; Islamist radicalism; and other topics published extensively on several continents; frequent guest on radio programs in the US, Canada, and Israel; extensive speaking and speech writer. Dr. Benkin has also testified to the US Congress, the (formerly) US Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and the US Commission for International Religious Freedom about religious oppression in South Asia, the persecution of anti-Islamist Muslims in Bangladesh, and the ethnic cleansing of Bangladeshi Hindus. He has also provided information to members of the US Congress and Senate on Bangladeshi human rights violations, anti-Islamist efforts in South Asia, and information that bore on the outcome of pending legislation.
Dr. Benkin successfully fought for the release of Muslim Bangladeshi journalist, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, imprisoned and tortured after writing articles warning about the rise of Islamic radicals, urging Bangladesh to recognize Israel, and advocating for religious equality. He also forced Bangladesh’s notorious Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to release an abductee unharmed after only three hours in their clutches.
Dr. Benkin has become one of the world's most effective advocates to stop the ethnic cleansing of Bangladeshi Hindus, currently helping Bengali Hindus in Bangladesh and India secure basic rights and protections. He was the only speaker before the US Congress who identified Islamist actions against Bangladesh’s Hindus as ethnic cleansing and is urging Congress and others to demand an immediate repeal of Bangladesh’s Vested Property Act; which has enabled plunder, rape, and murder of religious minorities, especially Hindus, and radical re-distribution of their ancestral lands. It has become the cornerstone of a decades-long effort at to ethnically cleanse Bangladesh of its non-Muslim population. Dr. Benkin is currently fighting to make the world aware of this genocide in the making and to obtain justice for its victims. A sought after speaker, he is currently working with others to organize Indian Hindu communities in the United States and elsewhere to take action to protect their co-religionists in South Asia. His human rights missions to India and Bangladesh, as well as his public appearances, have received press coverage primarily in South Asia; he has been interviewed by large newspapers including The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, other English, Hindi, and Bangla language papers.
Dr. Benkin has visited numerous illegal and semi-legal camps in West Bengal and elsewhere since 2007 where he interviewed dozens of Hindu victims of Islamist attacks, some within days of their victimization. Despite the efforts of officials to stop him, Benkin gathered testimony of ongoing attacks on the refugees by Islamists on both sides of the India-Bangladesh border, compiling documentary evidence of them while there. He is working to bring this "quiet case of ethnic cleansing" to officials in Washington and move them to take action. On July 28, 2006, Congressman Robert Dold (R-IL), with input from Benkin, took an important step by recognizing the attack on Hindus in Bangladesh, specifically and forcefully, and did not bury it amid talk about "minorities" or other generalities. This recognition is now the basis for further efforts to address and stop the oppression of Bangladesh's Hindus.
Since 2006, Dr. Benkin also has been investigating and exposing the emerging South Asian threat stemming from the “Red-Green Alliance” of radical Communists and radical Islamists and continues to speak about the atrocities and strategic advantages it already has carried out, as well as the very real threat it poses to us all. In January 2009, Dr. Benkin began a process that forced the cancellation of an anti-Israel conference in Australia. The convener of the conference posed as a human rights activist with only noble motives, but Benkin exposed his virulent anti-Semitism as the root of his anti-Israel animus. Several members of Australia's Jewish community--all of whom were critical to our ultimate success--got press attention for it, which ultimately caused backers and participants to pull out, forcing the conference's cancellation. The disingenuous use of human rights language by Israel-bashers has poisoned the atmosphere that could bring peace and justice to the Middle East. It also obscures the real causes of the conflict, one of which is visceral and rationalized Jew hatred. Benkin hopes that this example will spur similarly successful unmasking efforts.
Since then, Benkin has been involved in several successful human rights efforts in South Asia and the Middle East.
For almost eighteen months, Benkin worked closely with staff of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs to empanel hearings about the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh. Successive international crises in 2014 pushed them off the calendar, but Benkin persisted in pushing the Committee to air publicly this human rights matter and the situation in Bangladesh in general. In April 2015, those efforts came to fruition when the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific held those hearings. Benkin was asked to submit his official, written testimony, which is now part of the Congressional permanent record.
Since 2015, Dr. Benkin has worked closely with national minorities in what now is called Pakistan, all of the struggling for their national rights and the survivial of their cultures despite Pakistani occupation and massive human right violations. He has worked especially closely with the Baloch, Sindhi, and Pashtun, and is regarded as one of their strongest advocates. In November 2015, Thai authorities broke up a Baloch human rights meeting, and arrested and deported the organizer. Benkin lead an effort among those who remained to fight back and make something concrete come about through their efforts. The immediate result was his involvement in founding a new NGO, The Balochistan Project, dedicated to gathering, validating, and disseminating information about the situation facing the Baloch and about their occupying powers, Pakistan and Iran.
“Special US Congressional Recognition,” 2005
Nominated for 2006 Lorenzo Natali Prize for journalism
Named one of Congressman Mark Kirk's "Ten for the Tenth"
Honoree and Featured Speaker Bangladesh Minorities Lawyers Association, Supreme Court Building, Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 2007
Special Recognition 2007, Bangladesh Editors Forum
Special Recognition 2007,
Featured Speaker at
“Asru” Exhibition of Bangladeshi Minorities in
Rayburn Congressional Building,
Delivered annual Arvind Ghosh Memorial Lecture, Suburban Chicago, 2008
Featured Speaker, "Jewish Response to Jihad: What India can Learn," Supreme Court Building, New Delhi, India, March 2009
"Stop Shaking your Fists and Do Something!," Delivered to Telugu Association of North America, Suburban Chicago, July 2009
Recognized for "Significant Contributions to Community Service" by Telugu Association of North America, July 2009
Recipient, Vishwa Hindu Ratna (World's Jewel of Hinduism Award), 2010
Keynote Speaker, Third Anniversary rally of Hindu Samhati, Kolkata, February 14, 2011
"Hindus Decide: Save your Brethren or let them Die," Delivered to Telugu Association of North America, Santa Clara, CA, July 2011
"Award of Recognition" from by Telugu Association of North America, July 2011
Delivered addresses to Hindu Dharma Sabha in Lemont, IL 2010 and Grayslake, IL 2010 & 2011
Delivered address to Hindu Mahasabha, Houston, TX 2012
Delivered address to Human Rights Center for Bangladesh, Dallas, TX, 2013
Addressed over 25,000 at Hindu Samhati, Kolkata, India 2012 & 2013
Addressed Americans for Free Speech, University of Pennsylvania, Phila., March 23, 2013
Addressed Bharatiya Vichar Manch, Cerritos, CA, July 2013
Received Proclamation by Mount Prospect, IL, recognizing persecution of Bangladeshi Hindus, 1 October 2013
Addressed Jagriti, Cerritos, CA, 2014
Addressed 30,000 at Hindu Samhati rally, 14 February 2015, Kolkata
Addressed HRDI, 21 February 2015, New Delhi
Addressed Mandir Executives, IL, 2015
Provided written testimony, upon request to US House of Representatives on Bangladeshi Hindus, 2015
Addressed Congressman Robert Dold's Religous Freedom Under Attack Event, August 19, 2015, Lake Forest, IL
Addressed Hindu Unity Conference, Bensenville, IL, 2015
Addressed Hindu Jewish Alliance, Bensenville, IL, 2015
Received Hindu Bandu Award from Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, 2015
University of Lucknow
Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi)
American University (Washington, DC)
Gautam Buddha University (Greater Noida)
Osmania University (Hyderabad)
Andhra Vidyalaya College and Post Graduate Center (Hyderabad)