Ohio Senator Niraj Antani introduces resolution “To condemn Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bigotry”

Vandalized statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Shri Tulsi Mandir twice in August 2022. Photo Twitter COPCP2020

Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) introduced a resolution May 17, 2023, in the upper house of the legislature condemning what he says is rising Hinduphobia in the United States.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 “To condemn Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bigotry” comes in the wake of attempts by a section of the Indian American community to lobby state legislatures to pass resolutions against caste discrimination which it says is being practiced in America.

“As the first Indian American and Hindu State Senator in Ohio history and the youngest Hindu American elected official in the country, I am proud to introduce this resolution today,” Antani said in a press release from his office. “With what is going on in California, what happened in Seattle, and with the rising wave of Hinduphobia, we must act and take a strong stand against Hinduphobia. I will always stand strong for Hindus in Ohio and across America.” Senator Antani said.

“We applaud Senator Antani for introducing this monumental resolution condemning Hinduphobia and for always standing in solidarity with the Hindu American community. We look forward to other Ohio legislators joining him in pre condemning anti-Hindu hate by supporting this resolution,” said Samir Kalra, managing director at the Hindu American Foundation.

The resolution will now be referred to a Senate standing committee.

The Resolution states that Ohio is home to a significant Hindu American population and dozens of Hindu temples, religious centers, and cultural centers throughout the state; that Hinduism is one of the world’s largest and oldest religions with over 1.2 billion adherents in over 100 countries that encompasses an array of diverse traditions and belief
systems with values of acceptance, mutual respect, and peace;

It goes on to say that the United States has welcomed more than four million Hindus from all corners of the world and given them better opportunities and the freedom to practice Hinduism, also known as “Sanatana Dharma”; that Hindu Americans in Ohio represent diverse ethnic backgrounds, including individuals of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Malaysian, Indonesian, Afghani, Nepali, Bhutanese, Sri Lankan, Fijian, Caribbean, and European descent; and that Ohio and the nation have greatly benefited from Hindu Americans, especially through the Vedanta philosophy, Ayurvedic medicine, classical Indian art, dance, music, meditation, yoga, literature, and community service.

The Resolution briefly notes the history of Hindus immigrating to the U.S. since the early 1900s, the abolition of country quotas in 1965, and maintains that despite their positive contributions to Ohio and this nation, “Hindu Americans face stereotypes and misconceptions about their heritage and have been the targets of bullying,discrimination, hate speech, and bias-motivated crimes.”

It goes on to say religious symbols religious symbols “have been misunderstood, including the sacred swastika, which translates to “all is well” in Sanskrit and has been used in religious observances for over 4,000 years.”

According to the Resolution, “This misunderstanding and misappropriation has led to frequent harassment of the Hindu American community.”

The broken down statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Davis, California, after it was vandalized. Photo: courtesy organizers of peace vigil – Gandhi Statue for Peace Committee Davis, India Association of Davis (IAD), Indian Association of Sacramento (IAS)

It goes on say that there have been instances of “anti-Hindu hate crimes against Hindu Americans over the last few decades in many parts of the country, especially on college campuses, in parallel with the rise of Hinduphobia.”

The Resolution cites a Hindu American Foundation study of 2015, which alleged that one out of three Hindu American students reported that they have been bullied in school for their religious beliefs.

It also accuses “some in academia” of supporting “dismantling of Hinduism and accuse its sacred texts and cultural practices of violence and oppression.”

And finally, it says that “There have been attempts to institute laws/policies across the country that target, racially profile, and discriminate against Hindu Americans.”

On the basis of the above, it calls for “members of the 135th General Assembly of the State of Ohio, condemn Hinduphobia, anti-Hindu bigotry, and intolerance and declare Ohio as a place that welcomes the diversity brought by Hindu Americans.”



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