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Saturday, February 24, 2024

“No Dotheads” signs in Atlanta, bigoted campaign against Hindu temple in Minneapolis: USA

Two Hinduphobic hate-crimes have been reported from North America. In the first case, signboards proclaiming “No Dotheads” have sprung up in a residential neighborhood in Atlanta, USA. Dothead is a derogatory slur used for Hindus, and refers to the bindi worn by Hindu women.

The appearance of these hateful signboards coincides with some local groups protesting a plan to construct a Hindu Temple in the area. A Facebook group called Kelly Mill Coalition with over 500 members has popped up to oppose the temple, and an online petition has garnered more than 1,100 signatures.

Interestingly, some of the members of the Kelly Mill Coalition FB group have condemned the racist and Hinduphobic signs. Republican Party leader from Georgia, Dr. Rich McCormick has come out in support of the Hindu community after he was made aware of the hateful signs by CoHNA.

Hinduphobia in Minneapolis

The second Hinduphobic incident has been reported from the city of Minneapolis. And once again, a proposed Hindu temple is causing heartburn. Some Hinduphobes have circulated an anonymous letter full of bigotry such as – “God does not want false religion in our community, or anywhere else….Hindu Gods are false Gods.”

In 1987, street gangs calling themselves ‘Dotbusters’ had launched a series of violent attacks against Hindu Americans and other violent attacks against Hindus and other people of Bharatiya origin to drive them out of the state of New Jersey. One can refer to this excellent glossary built by the Hindu American Foundation to understand more about ‘Dothead’ and other anti-Hindu slurs used in the West.

Hindus constitute just 0.70% of American population. They are a hard-working, law-abiding, well-educated community which punches above its weight as far as contribution to American economy goes.

They do not proselytize to gain converts, or denigrate the majority religion in USA i.e. Christianity. There are around 450 Hindu temples in USA for a population of 2.23 million – 1 temple for every 5000 Hindus. By contrast just one district of Bharat, Kandhamal, has 1,200 churches: 1 church per 125 Christians!

Yet, Hindus face an undercurrent of racism, hostility and discrimination – even well-established figures like Hollywood director Manoj Night Shyamalan – which sometimes bursts out as physical attacks and temple vandalisms.

Now, conferences like ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ which have tacit backing of some top American universities, have further legitimized anti-Hindu hate. On September 11, a Hindu family was attacked in Canada with stones and abused while carrying out a private religious ceremony in a park. A few days prior, a Hindu temple in Swindon, UK was vandalized for the 5th time in just a few months.

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