Tool to Fight Anti-Hindu Hate Crimes in US
American Hindu Community is one of the fastest growing American religious communities. But the community and their religious beliefs has a long history of being targeted for hate crimes. To stop these hate crimes, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) announced the approval and release of the updated Federal Bureau of Inves-tigation (FBI) Hate Crime Data Collection Guide-lines and Training Manual on March 19, 2015 in Washington DC.
HAF participated in the drafting and submission of the edits to the manual as a member of the Hate Crimes Coalition, a group of NGO’s representing various stakeholder communities affected by hate crimes. The updated manual incorporated submissions by HAF relating to the Hindu community. The manual also coincides with a rise in anti-Hindu hate crimes across the country, including several attacks on Hindu temples.
The updated manual is the first new release since the FBI agreed to begin tracking hate crimes against Hindu Americans, Arab Americans, and Sikh Americans in 2013.
“We believe the manual can be a powerful tool for law enforcement officials to fight anti-Hindu hate crimes,” said Harsh Voruganti, Esq., HAF Associate Director of Public Policy. “We look forward to continue to working with the FBI and our coalition partners to further improve the manual and other community resources.”
Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Senior Director and Human Rights Fellow said that the escalation of crimes targeting Hindus and other minority communities is of grave concern to us. We are hopeful that this manual, along with other HAF-led trainings for law enforcement officials and community leaders, will help law enforcement better protect all targeted communities.
23 Killed in Tunisia Museum Attack
In a horrible attack in Tunisia, twenty two people have been killed after gunmen in military uniforms targeted a National Bardo Museum on March 18. At the time of the attack, deputies in the parliamentary building were discussing anti-terrorism legislation.
The Bardo Museum is next to the Parliament building in central Tunisia. It is known for its collection of ancient Tunisian artifacts and other treasures from Rome and Greece.
According to officials, two attackers and a Police officer were also killed in the subsequent security operation. Tourists from Italy, Germany, Poland, Japan, France and Spain were reported among those killed.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has condemned the terrorist attack.
Condemning the attack, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet that the country stands with the people of Tunisia in their hour of grief. United Nations, United States and France have also condemned the terrorist attack.
Hindu community has expressed urgent need of a Hindu temple in Swindon in South West England.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada, stressed that a Hindu temple was urgently needed for the spiritual needs of about 20,000 Hindus of the area, who had to visit London (about 80 miles) and Birmingham (around 84 miles) for worship services in the absence of any Hindu temple.
Zed urged the British Hindu community to come forward to help the locals who were trying to raise a temple. A registered charity, Swindon Hindu Temple Trust, has reportedly been formed to build Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre in Swindon to meet the religious, cultural and social needs of the community.
Objectives of the Temple, besides worship services, will also include promotion of Hinduism and its doctrines, organising cultural activities and religious events, performing religious rites, conducting Hindu religious studies and discourses and educational programs, be a medium for social interaction among people in wider community, doing charity, etc..
It is reported that presently, the trust is raising funds and organises monthly Bhajan-Kirtan followed by community dinner at area community centers.
Zed pointed out that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this upcoming Temple complex would help in this direction.
—Nishant Kr Azad with inputs from agencies