TEANECK, N.J. /PRNewswire/ — Almost fifty-five Hindu American organizations representing more than 155,000 residents of Bergen County, NJ and surrounding areas signed a coalition letter condemning a hateful resolution recently passed by the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee (TDMC).
The resolution recklessly and falsely labels almost every major Hindu American organization in the United States, including Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Sewa International, and others, as a fascist organization which promotes hate and terrorism without providing any of those organizations the opportunity to be heard.
The resolution has outraged Hindu Americans who see this as a vicious, false, and provocative act by Democratic Party activists in Teaneck to demonize the entire Hindu community, their activities, their beliefs, and their political participation in New Jersey. The Hindu American community, considered by many to be a model minority community, has recently experienced numerous instances of hate crimes, including against many Hindu temples in the New Jersey area.
“Just like the ‘Dot-Busters‘ gangs in New Jersey in the late 80s that violently targeted Hindu Americans because of their religious beliefs or skin color, the TDMC chose to also make baseless assumptions and operate from a position of ignorance and hate,” said S. Rawal, a New Jersey resident. Rawal was 7-years-old when the “Dot Busters” announced their campaign in 1987 to eradicate Hindus from New Jersey. “Back then, it was ‘dirty’ Hindu, today it is ‘fascist’ Hindu,” he said.
Civic leaders and officials from the surrounding areas also expressed their support for the Hindu American community while condemning this Hindu hate campaign initiated by the TDMC.
New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal, in a strongly worded statement of support for the Hindu American community condemned the resolution and called for its immediate rescission.
In his statement, he said,
“It is unfortunate that this committee that purports to support the ideals of the Democratic Party would act in a manner that illustrates the type of bigotry and hatred that we are working hard as a country to eradicate from our society.” Teaneck City Council Members Keith Kaplan and Michael Santiago Pagan also issued a strong statement in response to the resolution in which they said, “Unfortunately, the TDMC resolution at issue… was felt by some to condemn all Hindus, which encompasses many peaceful members of our larger community here in Bergen County and beyond.” They added, “Just as we did on the day we were sworn in, we proclaim: Hate has no home in Teaneck.”
In the recent Teaneck City Council meeting, Hindu American community members called for an investigation into the individuals and organizations that may have incited the TDMC to pass this defamatory and hateful resolution. The coalition letter stated, “We understand that the TDMC may simply be a pawn in a much larger agenda to malign and denigrate the Hindu American community, but we wish to impress upon the TDMC that there are real consequences when one makes misplaced, false, and malicious allegations about a law-abiding and peaceful community.”
Interestingly, Alexandra Soriano-Taveras, the TDMC Chairman who signed off on the hateful resolution, is no stranger to stirring up ethnic and religious animosity. Last year, while campaigning for the open State Assembly seat in the 37th district, she was seen suggesting a boycott of Jewish businesses in Teaneck.
The TDMC resolution should be considered in the context of the extensive community service rendered by the Hindu American community through various organizations; service that has been recognized by government officials at every level. In a recent Congressional Statement, US Congressman Gerald Connolly stated, “Without regard for race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality, Sewa International USA has done tremendous work to ameliorate the effects of some of the world’s greatest disasters.” Hindu American organizations, some of which were demonized by the TDMC resolution, collectively donated over 30 million pounds of food and over $50 million dollars worth of food, supplies, and other essential services during the pandemic to help the elderly or lower-income communities hit hard by the COVID lockdowns. “Our volunteers strive to serve humanity considering that as serving divinity. It is surprising that the TDMC is trying to demonize those that do good in the world with this bigoted and evil resolution that simply promotes Hindu hate. We hope that during this festival season that sanity prevails, and they rescind this awful resolution,” said Rashmita Shanbhag, North Jersey Chapter Coordinator for Sewa International USA.
The letter urged the TDMC to do the right thing by immediately rescinding their hate-filled resolution and apologizing for hurting the sentiments of the Hindu American community and for endangering the security, well-being, and safety of Hindus in New Jersey.
The coalition letter can be found here: https://bit.ly/3BN6eex.
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