Elected representatives opine that discrimination against Hindus in the US needs urgent attention
A group of prominent Indian-Americans has urged US lawmakers to take account of and initiate steps against the rising Hinduphobia activities in America with a request to protect the rights of the Hindu community in the nation.
About 21 Congressmen attended the 2nd National Hindu Advocacy Day at the US Capitol in which the elected representatives mentioned the urgent need to pay attention to the rising discrimination against Hindus in the US.
Hindu Americans from 12 states of the US attended the conference namely Hank Johnson, Tom Keane, Rich McCormick, Thanedar, Buddy Carter and Sanford Bishop, and Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani. “Hindus are under attack in the US,” Antani said.
Congressman Rich McCormick reminded attendees that “there is discrimination not just by race but also by religion and Hinduphobia and intimidation of the Hindu community is an old problem,” at the day-long conference at the US Capitol organized by Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA).
McCormick informed that bills like California’s SB403 “are racist, discriminatory and divisive since they seek to classify people in ways that the people themselves reject.” This is not American and needs to be opposed, the Republican Congressman from Georgia said.
“I believe strongly in freedom of religion for every individual and stand against any kind of attacks and phobia,” said Congressman Sri Thanedar, highlighting the importance of ensuring representation for diverse groups and freedom of religion.
“The Hindu religion is a peaceful one, yet it has been attacked and needs to be protected. Like others, Hindus deserve to be able to practice their religion without any kind of hate, prejudice, or phobia. As a Congressman, I myself noted the lack of a Hindu caucus and therefore helped create one,” Thanedar said.
Nikunj Trivedi, the president of CoHNA, mentioned the fact that there is growing awareness about the Hindus in the US. He said, “It’s been a productive year of advocacy for the Hindu community with states like Georgia and cities as far apart as Fremont, California, and Memphis, Tennessee, seeking to educate about the problem with resolutions and proclamations against Hinduphobia.”
“We also witnessed history as the growing popularity of Hindu festivals like Diwali led to the successful declaration of the festival as a holiday in New York City public schools,” he said.
Professor Babones, executive director of the Indian Century Roundtable commented that the idea of ‘caste discrimination’ in America is strange at best, given the lack of proper data on any actual discrimination.
“How do California lawmakers plan to figure out someone’s caste in the US, given that there are over 1,100 scheduled castes, over 700 scheduled tribes, and over 2,500 castes in the OBC category just in India alone? Dalit is not a ‘caste’,” he added.