“Hindu Gang” has been spray painted on a building often used to host community meetings. George Joseph/Rediff.com reports from New York
Close on the heels of vandalism at two Hindu temples in Seattle area in Washington last month, offensive graffiti in New York’s South Ozone Park, Queens, has alarmed the community.
It appeared in two places -- one was on the window of a building often used to host meetings of the Hindu community. ‘Hindu gang!!!’ is spray painted on the wall of the building in red.
“The incident purportedly occurred on February 5 and yet the graffiti was never removed,” Aminta Kilawan, co-founder of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus told rediff.com.
“The graffiti was outside of a building owned by the Knights of Columbus, used to host community board meetings, senior citizen activities, and more. I was on my way home from work (walking) just a few days ago when I spotted the graffiti which said "Hindu Gang!!!”
Trinity Singh, an Indian American, told CBS2 that he was surprised to see the graffiti one morning. “I guess some kids probably just wrote it there. I have never heard of a Hindu gang.”
Kilawan too said there was no such thing as a “Hindu gang” and she does not think Hindus were behind the graffiti. It is probably a veiled attack on Hindu religion, she felt. “We’re often touted as a peaceful, pacifist community, but I feel it’s important to speak out when it comes to matters like this,” she added.
“My community -- particularly the Indo-Caribbeans who have migrated to New York and made Queens as diverse as it is. I felt like it’s a direct attack against us,” she said.
Police said the Knights of Columbus filed a report. But they did not know then that another establishment on the block was also hit by vandalism.
Kamal, who owns a liquor store, showed CBS2 pictures of his business sprayed with the same red paint, which was later washed. The message on the shop appeared to show a dollar sign and the letters Z and Y. It appeared almost the same time as at the other graffiti, said Kamal, who did not reveal his last name.
The incidents have angered all, not the Hindu community alone. “It used to be a beautiful neighborhood. It’s changing for the bad -- fast,” resident Vincenzo Falci told CBS2.