LAS VEGAS (Feb. 16, 2015) — Hindus nationwide are concerned after two incidents involving South Asian American victims have occurred in a span of 10 days.
The first occurred on February 6, and involved the “roughing-up” of a Hindu grandfather at the hands of police in Madison, Ala. The victim suffered partial paralysis as a result.
The second occurred on February 15, in Bothell, Washington. An individual(s) reportedly scrawled a hate message, the words “GET OUT” on a Hindu Temple wall.
Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism in Las Vegas, on Monday issued a statement, saying the acts of hate and violence was shocking to a hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Hindu community that has made great contributions to the nation and society.
“Hindus topped in education, had second highest income levels, topped in marriage rates and had lowest divorce rates,” said Zed, referring to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey. “Per another Pew Forum survey, USA was the world’s second-leading destination for Hindu migrants, after India. There were about three million Hindus in USA.”
Zed noted that this was basically because of Hindus continuing with the traditional values of hard work, higher morals, stress on education, sanctity of marriage, etc., in USA amidst so many distractions.
He suggests that the basics of major world religions should be taught in high schools of the country and first responders should be imparted cultural competency training so that we understood each other better in view of increasing diversity of the country.
He urges fellow Hindus to educate Americans about Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents, and try to remove any misconceptions about it.
Zed indicated that visitors were “most welcome” in Hindu Temple & Cultural Center in Bothell, whose Mission was to “Promote social, cultural, religious, and spiritual understanding”. It was sad that such graffiti showed up on its wall a day before the Temple was scheduled to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Maha-Sivaratri. Efforts to build this Temple reportedly began in 1980’s.