Latest News USA

HAF: Report incidents of anti-Hindu hate or harassment to authorities

In view of the recent event where a community member was targeted because he expressed support for the farm bills introduced by the government of India, the Hindu American Foundation has urged anyone who has been the victim of anti-Hindu hate, harassment, or threats to report these incidents to local law enforcement as well as fill out its Hinduphobia and bias crime reporting form, so that it helps to better keep track of such incidents in the United States.

“We’ve been receiving an increasing number of reports of Hindu Americans being targeted for harassment in person and on social media platforms for exercising their right to express opinions on events taking place in India,” Suhag Shukla, HAF Executive Director and Co-Founder as in a press release. 
“HAF firmly stands on the side of individuals to express their political opinions or disagree with the political opinions of others, no matter what those opinions are. However, when individuals are threatened personally or professionally for doing so, or targeted with organized retaliation it simply goes too far and moves into the realm of harassment as defined by state and local law. Hindu Americans should know and exercise their rights freely and fearlessly in all spheres of American life,” read the press release.  

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Latest News USA

Indian-American groups criticize attack on Capitol

Indian-American groups have strongly condemned the storming of the Capitol Hill by President Donald Trump’s supporters, describing the incident as an assault on the US democracy.

“The violent attack on the United States Capitol was disgusting. This act of sedition, stoked by Donald Trump, is a threat to our country and to every American’s rights and wellbeing. It must not be tolerated,” said Ajay Bhutoria, national finance committee member of Biden 2020, and one of the vice chairs of the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

He asserted that the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America.

“The United States of America built the most powerful economy in the world in no small part due to the stability of our government and the peaceful transfer of power we have enjoyed for generations,” he said.

Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF) in a statement condemned in the strongest terms the assault on the Capitol by “extremists” in a misguided attempt to overturn the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

“Violence has no place in democratic protest. Disinformation intended to sow distrust in our democratic processes has no place in a democracy. We strongly denounce those who encouraged and enabled this violence,” SALDEF executive director Kiran Kaur Gill said.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) also condemned the violence, chaos, and anarchy that unfolded at the US Capitol building on Wednesday.

It was a sad day for America and for democracy at large, it said in a statement.

“Hindu Americans are uniquely attune to the foundations of and threats to democracy, as many of us trace our heritage to the Republic of India, the world’s largest democracy. Hindu values and ideals are American values and ideals and the bonds between our people, our commitment to freedom, equality, and representative democracy remain unshaken,” the HAF said.

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Latest News USA

Hindus outraged over tweet pic of Kamala Harris as Goddess Durga

Hindu groups in the US have sought an apology from the niece of Senator Kamala Harris for tweeting an “offensive” image, which depicted the Democratic vice-presidential nominee as goddess Durga.

The tweet has now been deleted by Meena Harris, 35, who is a lawyer, a children’s book author and the founder of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, an organization that works to bring awareness to intersectional social causes.

“Your tweeting a caricature of the feminine divine, Maa Durga, with faces superimposed, deeply aggrieved many Hindus globally,” Suhag A Shukla of the Hindu American-Foundation said in a tweet on Monday.

HAF, which represents the Hindu American community, has issued a guideline for commercial use of images relating to the religion.

Rishi Bhutada of the Hindu American Political Action Committee said the “offensive” picture was not created by Meena Harris herself. It had been circulating on WhatsApp prior to her tweet and the Biden campaign confirmed to him that the image was not created by it.

“Given that, I personally believe that an apology should come from Meena Harris even though she did delete the tweet, and no one else. Our religious iconography should not be used in the service of politics in America — I said the same when the Fort Bend County GOP did it in an ad in 2018, and it holds the same here,” Bhutada said.

Ajay Shah, convener of American Hindus Against Defamation, said in a statement the image has offended and outraged the religious community.

In the now deleted tweet, a screenshot of which is being retweeted by some people, Meena Harris says: “I am actually speechless, other than to say that the first day of Navaratri was LIT.”

In the image, Kamala Harris, depicted as goddess Durga, was seen killing US President Donald Trump, who was depicted as buffalo demon ”Mahishasura”. The image also showed Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden as a lion, the ”vahana” (vehicle) of the goddess.

“If you think you are going to win Hindu votes by mocking us, think again. This image is highly offensive and insulting to Hindus. Our Divinities are NOT cultural curios for you to mock and trivialize. And you delete without an apology?” noted author Shefali Vaidya said in a tweet.

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Latest News New York USA

HAF welcomes House resolution supporting refugee protection for persecuted Hindus, Sikhs from Afghanistan

Washington, DC: On August 14, 2020 Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced House resolution “condemning targeted terrorist attacks against members of the Sikh, Hindu, and other religious minority communities in Afghanistan and supporting refugee protection for Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan in recognition of the systematic religious persecution, discrimination, and existential danger faced by the members of these communities.”

The resolution recognizes that “Sikhs and Hindus are indigenous but endangered minorities in Afghanistan, numbering approximately 700 out of a community that recently included over 8,000 members” and that “members of the Sikh and Hindu communities face existential danger in Afghanistan.” The resolution “supports resettling Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan in the United States under the United States Refugee Admissions Program pursuant to section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157).”

“We commend Congresswoman Speier for introducing a resolution on this important humanitarian issue,” stated HAF Director of Public Policy Taniel Koushakjian. “As Americans, we know firsthand the devastating effects of international Islamist terror groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda as well as the need to eliminate them and the support they receive from the Haqqani network and state sponsors of terror who really are at the root of this evil.” Koushakjian said.

HAF also lauded PM Narendra Modi’s government for playing an active role in providing humanitarian assistance, including refugee resettlement and transport for those caught in the crosshairs of terrorists. “Hindu Americans and all human rights activists applaud Prime Minister Modi and his government for stepping in and saving lives in the middle of a global pandemic,” Koushakjian said. The first wave of refugees,11 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, arrived in New Delhi on July 26, 2020.

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HAF leads campaign against anti-India motion by a city council in Minnesota

Washington: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) launched a letter writing campaign to oppose a deeply flawed and error-laden resolution proposed by the St. Paul City Council in Minnesota. The symbolic resolution denounces what it calls the “Islamophobic ideology” of the Modi government.  Lead sponsor Council Member Jane Prince  worked on the resolution with the Minnesota chapter of the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Thanks to HAF’s activism, the City Council has been inundated with over 12,000 letters opposing RES 20-712 and requesting the city council to table it or vote NO. Numerous locally spearheaded coalition letters from the Indian and Hindu American communities also called out the inaccuracies and divisive impact of the council’s actions.

HAF also sent a formal letter to council members to educate them on the horrific human rights conditions that many religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have fled.

Another fact-check of RES 20–712 was submitted on May 12, 2020 to the St. Paul City Council by a coalition of 27 prominent leaders from Minnesota’s Indian American community. It provides corrections, clarifications, and context to numerous inaccuracies in the City Council’s ill-advised proposed draft resolution on India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, and highlights the hostile environment the City Council has created for Minnesotans of Indian origin by hastily and irresponsibly wading into a subject on which it lacks expertise, let alone basic understanding.

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