Washington: US’ Georgia Assembly has passed a resolution condemning Hinduphobia, making it the first American state to take such a legislative measure.
Condemning Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bigotry, the resolution said Hinduism is one of the world’s largest and oldest religions with over 1.2 billion adherents in over 100 countries and encompasses an array of diverse traditions and belief systems with values of acceptance, mutual respect and peace.
The resolution was introduced by Representatives Lauren McDonald and Todd Jones from Forsyth County in the suburbs of Atlanta, home to one of the largest Hindu and Indian-American communities in Georgia.
The resolution observed that the American-Hindu community has been a major contributor to diverse sectors such as medicine, science and engineering, information technology, hospitality, finance, academia, manufacturing, energy, retail trade, among others. It also noted that the community’s contributions of Yoga, ayurveda, meditation, food, music, arts have enriched the cultural fabric and have been widely adopted in American society and enhanced the lives of millions.
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Stating that there have been documented instances of hate crimes against Hindu-Americans over the last few decades in many parts of the country, the resolution said Hinduphobia is exacerbated and institutionalised by some in academia who support the dismantling of Hinduism and accuse its sacred texts and cultural practices of violence and oppression.
A move in this regard was spearheaded by the Atlanta chapter of the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA), which organised the first-ever Hindu Advocacy Day held on March 22 at the Georgia State Capitol. It was attended by around 25 lawmakers — both Republicans and Democrats — who joined the Hindu community to understand its concerns, pledge to create ways to protect the community against discrimination and facilitate the inclusion of Hindu voices in important decision-making processes in the state.
“It was a true honor to work with Rep McDonald and Rep Jones as well as other lawmakers who guided us through the whole process of getting this County Resolution passed,” said Rajeev Menon, CoHNA vice president.
“We also heard that all the lawmakers had been working really long hours given the amount of legislative items on the agenda, but still decided to join us at the Advocacy Day to show how much they value the Hindu community,” he said.
CoHNA general secretary Shobha Swamy said, “The issues faced by Hindu Americans in Georgia and the rest of the country via false, Hinduphobic narratives are negatively impacting a community that has been hardworking, law-abiding and enriching the fabric of America.”
“We urged for their help in combating such bigotry which advances hatred and creates the idea that Hindus and people of Indian-origin need special laws and monitoring due to allegations around some inherent propensity to discriminate,” she said.