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USA: Hinduphobia gets governmental recognition, July to be recognised as Hindu Persecution Awareness Month in Edison, NJ

"Misunderstandings and stereotypes about Hinduism and those that practice it persist, and Hinduphobia — an aversion to or hatred of the Hindu faith and those that practice it — is still a very real issue," said Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey in his official proclamation.

On Wednesday (July 28), the Mayor of the Township of Edison in New Jersey recognised July as ‘Hindu persecution awareness month.’ The development comes as a major victory for the Hindu community in the United States who have struggling to make universities and college campuses aware of the perils of Hinduphobia.

Twitter handle ‘Hindu on Campus’ shared the key development on Friday (July 30). In his historic proclamation, Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey noted, “Whereas, Hinduism is one of the world’s major religions, with over 1 billion global adherents; and whereas historically, as well as in the present day, Hindus have faced persecution and discrimination based on their religious beliefs, including in South Asia; and whereas, our own state, New Jersey, witnessed attacks in the late 1980s aimed at Hindu Indian immigrants, which were perpetrated by the Dotbusters…”

He further added, “Whereas, misunderstandings and stereotypes about Hinduism and those that practice it persists, and Hinduphobia — an aversion to or hatred of the Hindu faith and those that practice it — is still a very real issue; and
Whereas, Hinduism, which encompasses an array of diverse traditions and belief systems, espouses values of acceptance and peace, and Hindus have been trailblazers in various fields across the globe; and whereas, Edison has a large and vibrant Hindu population that is integral to the diverse ethnic and religious fabric of our town, and is home to several Hindu places of worship.”

“Therefore, be it resolved that I, Thomas Lankey, Mayor of the Township of Edison, do hereby proclaim July as Hindu Persecution Awareness Month to memorialize the discrimination and injustice that members of the Hindu faith face, and to reaffirm our township’s commitment to the American ideal of the freedom to freely and peacefully practice one’s religion,” the office of the Mayor concluded.

‘Hindu on Campus’ informed that Edison is the 5th largest municipality of New Jersey, which hosts a large population of Hindu Americans. While thanking Hindu students for leading their cause to fruition, it said, “The proclamation issued by the Township’s mayor nods to the past and present discrimination that Hindus have faced in South Asia, as well as the richness and significance of Hindu heritage.”

Hindu on Campus highlighted that the Office of the Edison Mayor also recognised ‘Hinduphobia’, which is a grim issue of the day. It stated that the recognition of Hindu Persecution Awareness Month is significant, as it has received official governmental recognition now.

Rutgers Student Association passes historic resolution recognising Hinduphobia

On April 24 this year, the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) passed a resolution (No. 1451-XX) to adopt a scholarly definition of Hinduphobia. This was the first time when a US university had institutionally recognised Hinduphobia through its student assembly. The scholarly definition of Hinduphobia was developed through the ‘Understanding Hinduphobia’ Conference.

Rutgers HSC emphasised that it was important to protect the interests of the Hindu students on the campus of Rutgers University. The adopted definition of Hinduphobia went as, “a set of antagonistic, destructive, and derogatory attitudes and behaviours towards Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) and Hindus that may manifest as fear or hatred.” Rutgers HSC informed that RUSA had not only recognised the working definition of Hinduphobia but would also incorporate changes made to the definition within 14 days of the conclusion of the ‘Understanding Hinduphobia Conference.’

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