In the United Kingdom’s Wembley last week, a Hindu temple became the scene of a potential hate crime as a man reportedly reciting verses of the Quran smashed a lamp and tried to throw a sacred murti
On January 6, 2024, a black man entered a Siva temple, the Eelapatheeswarar Alayam Temple in Wembley, England. The man who was wearing a face mask and hoodie, despite pleas from devotees and temple volunteers, refused to remove his shoes upon entering the sacred space.
As per Rajasingham Jayadevan, the founder and general secretary of the temple a volunteer tried to reastrain the man. He also said that the man was initially stopped by volunteers, who asked him to remove his boots, and pull down the hoodie. The accused left the temple only to barge back in Going to the sides of the temple where deities are, he grabbed the idol of Devi Lakshmi with an intent to throw it and smash it.
Jayadevan revealed that the sacred idol escaped harm as volunteers managed to catch the figure after the man threw it. “One of the devotees and our volunteers managed to restrain him after he became extremely aggressive and were successfully able to catch the murti (idol) which was thrown,” he said as per a post on social media X, by INSIGHT, a community of British Hindus and Indians.
“He then went to a Navagraha (nine deities) stand and there were brass diyas (lamps or deepaks) there. He smashed one of the Navgraha structures and tried to shake one of the Navagraha’s,” he added as quoted by an Indian media agency. During all this activity, he was reciting Quranic Verses, claimed Jayadevan.
Once the man was detained by volunteers, the Metropolitan police were called. When the police officers came to arrest him, he showed the audacity to assault one of the police officers. In a statement, the police said “Shortly after 1:30PM on January 6, 2024, police were called to a man who entered a Hindu temple in Wembley.
It was reported that the 22-year-old man was causing a significant disturbance inside the temple. Officers attended and the man was detained He was taken to a hospital as a precaution due to his elevated heart rate and subsequently arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and taken into police custody. “However, the man was not booked for the vandalism he caused as no one present wished to substantiate any sort of related criminal allegation,” the police said.