Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) are deeply concerned about recent incidents of bias-motivated violence and harassment, as well as violence at protests, following the Presidential election.
Over the past several days, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted a “big uptick in incidents of vandalism, threats, intimidation spurred by the rhetoric surrounding Mr. Trump’s election.”
Nazi symbols have been spray-painted in dorms, on walls, and the ground in attempts to intimidate non-whites. There have been numerous incidents of verbal abuse of non-whites across the country, as well as incidents of Muslim women having their hijab pulled, while being verbally harassed. And though the vast majority of anti-Trump protests have been peaceful, there have been incidents of destruction of property, as well as assaults on Trump supporters and anti-Trump demonstrators alike. A student at Woodside High School in California was also violently attacked by another student for a pro-Trump social media post.
Here at HAF, US-born friends of a Board member were recently told, “Go back to your country.” And a member of HAF’s National Leadership Council was spat at and chased down a street by a person making obscene gestures.
“While feelings surrounding the election may understandably be running high, incidents of hate and violence are unacceptable in a pluralistic, democratic nation operating under the rule of law,” said Suhag Shukla, Esq., the Foundation’s Executive Director.
HAF leaders are encouraged by the words of President-elect Trump in urging his supporters to not harass minorities, but also recognize the unfortunate reality that many such incidents have already occurred and are likely to continue to occur in the days and weeks ahead.
If you or someone you know has been harassed, assaulted or threatened with harm, HAF urges that you not stay silent, and report such acts and threats of violence to law enforcement immediately.
We also ask that that you help us in tracking incidents of identity-based or bias-motivated intimidation, threats, harassment, and violence being experienced in our communities by filling out this form. The more data we have about such incidents, the better we will be able to work with the appropriate authorities, agencies, civil rights advocates, and other stakeholders to identify areas of particular concern and ensure the safety and security of the community. To this end, please share this form widely with your networks.
Also, if you or someone you know believe like you have been or are being discriminated against on religious grounds, HAF’s Know Your Rights provides information about fundamental rights in simple, straightforward terms.
Furthermore, as we have seen numerous incidents of the hateful use of the swastika, presented in an anti-Semitic and Nazi context, HAF encourages everyone to re-acquaint themselves with the multi-thousand year history of this auspicious symbol, sacred to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and many other communities around the world. We encourage you to share the hopeful and uplifting meaning of the swastika with your neighbors, community, and elected officials, so that we may slowly replace the hateful usage with the hopeful.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) congratulates Donald Trump on being elected the 45th President of the United States. We look forward to working with the Trump-Pence administration to address those issues, both within the United States and abroad, that are of deep concern to many in the Hindu American community.
We are encouraged by President-elect Trump’s call to “bind the wounds of division” and “come together as one united people,” which recognizes the need for unity amongst the deep political, social, and religious diversity of the United States.
This commitment, we hope, will extend to issues HAF has long advocated for: ensuring hate crimes are monitored and combatted vigilantly, alongside outreach to affected communities to ensure their safety and security; comprehensive immigration reform, with specific attention to religious worker visas, equitable H-1B policy, and accommodations for Hindu refugees fleeing persecution; and continued engagement on issues of law enforcement and cultural competency, so that all Americans can enjoy equal protection under the law.
In carrying out our nation’s foreign policy, of utmost concern to HAF continues to be: the gross human rights violationsborne by Hindus and other religious minorities around the world, especially in countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, where radical Islam is fomenting terror and violence; Pakistan’s proxy war in Indian Kashmir that has led to the ethnic cleansing of over 300,000 Kashmiri Hindu Pandits and ongoing violence against Hindu minorities in Kashmir; and bilateral ties of the United States with nations that sponsor terrorism.
On all these issues we look forward to engaging the incoming Trump-Pence administration to ensure a safe and prosperous future for all Americans.
We also take this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Hindu American community. This election has been nothing less than historic. For the first time there are four Hindu members of Congress: incumbent Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is joined by first time winners Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) in the House of Representatives. We also offer our heartiest congratulations to Indian American incumbent Ami Bera (D-CA), and the first ever Indian American to be elected to the U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Hindu Americans also made significant strides in state-level races. Just a few of these include incumbents Niraj Antani (R-OH) and Prasad Srinivasan (R-CT), along with Jay Chaudhuri (D-NC) and Ash Kalra (D-CA), who were elected as first time winners and the first Hindus to serve in their respective state legislatures. Hindu Americans were also elected to many city-level races around the country, too numerous to mention.
The Hindu American community has arrived politically, and it is now upon us to ensure that our elected representatives at all levels of government hear our concerns and needs, and act upon them for the well-being of all.