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Hinduphobia in US is increasing, warns Democrat Congressman

By Lalit K Jha
March 14, 2024 12:47 IST
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The US of late has seen a rise in Hinduphobia which needs to be fought because there is no place for hatred in this country, Indian-American Congressman Shri Thanedar has said, as he joined a group of Hindu leaders and organisations seeking to fight this growing hate crime against the community.

IMAGE: Representatives of various Indian American groups meet at the US Capitol during a meeting organised by HinduAction, Washington, DC, March 13, 2024. Photograph: HinduAction/X

Representatives of various Indian American groups met on Wednesday at the US Capitol during a meeting organised by HinduAction.

"We see a lot of Hinduphobia. We see California SB403 (the bill banning caste discrimination), and that's just the beginning. The attacks on our temples and attacks on Hindus all over the world. That is one of the reasons why I decided to form the Hindu Caucus,” Thanedar said.


”For the first time in the United States Congress, we have a Hindu Caucus. Number of initiatives we are taking to ensure that people have religious freedom to practice their religion the way they want to and not be, we need to fight this phobia, bigotry, and hatred. Because there should be no place for hatred in America, no place for hatred against people's religious rights. And so that's what we are focusing on in Congress,” Thanedar, a Democrat, said.

Suhag Shukla from the Hindu American Foundation said that college campuses in particular are experiencing rampant anti-Hindu bias and hate. She also listed out some of the major incidents of hate crime against the Hindu community in the US.

”Just in the past two years we've seen a spike in anti-Hindu incidents,” she said.

There's unfamiliarity and there is complacency amongst law enforcement, she said.

”The perpetrators that have been caught on video with all the temple attacks that I've mentioned, all of the street attacks that I've mentioned, the statements that are made during the commission of the attacks, the nature and content of the graffiti all point to the Khalistan movement,” she said. ”When there are people from within the Sikh community who are speaking out against this movement, they've been physically attacked,” Shukla said.

Referring to SB403, she said there is institutionalised discrimination.

Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Sunder Iyer, a victim of targeted hate, told the participants that he learned that a civil rights agency can racially profile and violently stereotype Indian Americans.

”I respectfully ask the members of Congress to allocate a budget within the Department of Justice to investigate the California Civil Rights Department and for the greater good of America. An agency that does not represent the truth harms all Americans. Several of my colleagues at Cisco and many other companies across California will be willing to give testimony. They must not live their lives in fear and their voices must not be suppressed,” Iyer said.

An increase in recent attacks on the temples is emotionally very disturbing to the executives of the temple and community at large, said Tejal Shah of the Hindu Temple Empowerment Council.

Temple Priests face mental anguish, shock and trauma, she said.

Observing that perpetrators of many of those attacks have not been found, Shah said in one case the police resisted registering a report. She listed out attacks on some of the temples.

Later a joint declaration by HinduAction and Namaste-Shalom Multifaith Alliance urged the Congress to formally recognise rising anti-Hindu hate through a resolution. 

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Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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