Attack on Hindu temples must not be tolerated: Indian American Congressman
Indian-American Congressman Shri Thanedar on Wednesday condemned the recent attacks on Hindu temples in the US, saying such incidents should not be tolerated.
"We should not tolerate any kind of phobia, Hindu phobia. The religions are about love, helping each other and doing good things for each other. And these attacks on Hindu temples--I strongly condemn them and we must not tolerate that. I serve on the Homeland Security Committee and I am speaking with my committee members about helping religious organisations do better ability. Provide them the funds and resources they need to protect the religious organisations and help them fight any kind of Hindu phobia, any kind of hatred that we see," Thanedar said.
Speaking with ANI at the 'Ramayana across Asia and Beyond' event at the US Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Thanedar also weighed in on the opening of Ram Mandir on January 22, terming it as 'historic'.
He added that the construction of temple is a proud moment for every Indian.
"I think it means a lot. It's historic and it's a pride for every Indian to see that temple built. I have seen pictures of it and they are spectacular. Through the Ramayana epic, we bring people together. This is a cultural bond that we have with likeminded people and now we see Ramayana has been appreciated all over the Asia-Pacific region with 15 different countries. It is practiced and the Ramayana brings it to us. It's more than epic. It is the value system. I grew up in a Hindu family, studying Ramayana and singing verses from Ramayana. So that is just a second nature to me," the Congressman said.
Thailand's ambassador to the US, Tanee Sangrat, said the opening of Ram Mandir is a 'delight' for the people of many countries and celebrations are already underway as the event draws near.
"It is the delight of people not only in Thailand but with many countries across Southeast Asia and across Asia Pacific that our common culture is being celebrated and the coming home of Rama," the Thai envoy said.
"It's an excellent occasion for me to come and share our culture together on the Ramayana, which is the great story that we share in the Asia-Pacific region. It is also an excellent opportunity to exchange our views with the diplomatic core, with the members of the community, congress and staff about the story that we all know too well about good and evil," he added.
HinduACTion's landmark event -- 'Ramayana Across Asia and Beyond -- at Capitol Hill on Wednesday saw a unique gathering of distinguished diplomats and US lawmakers, underscoring the importance of cultural heritage in contemporary geopolitics.
The event was attended by the Ambassadors of Thailand to the U.S. Tanee Sangrat
and India's Ambassador to the U.S., along with U.S. Congressmen Jim Baird (R-IN), Max Miller (R-OH), and Shri Thanedar (D-MI). Key embassy staff from Bangladesh and Guyana, as well as representatives from the offices of Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Congresswoman Sarah Jacobs (D-CA), also marked their presence.
The focal message of the conference was the integration of the Ramayana's teachings in today's governance. The esteemed members applauded HinduACTion for their foresight in highlighting the need for a deeper comprehension of the Indo-Pacific region's civilizational qualities and values. This insight is instrumental for American policymakers to develop nuanced relationships with the 16 nations in the region.
Think tank members from Sri Lanka also contributed their perspectives on the necessity of reinforced Indian cooperation in the Indian Ocean, anchored in shared historical values and ideals.
In a poignant address, the Thai Ambassador spoke of the Ramayana's eternal influence on Thai society and its philosophical significance. Similarly, the Indian Ambassador emphasised the Ramayana's role in fostering morally sound geopolitical practices.
A cultural dance performance of the Ramayana beautifully complemented the backdrop of exhibition panels, illustrating the epic's interpretation across various Indo-Pacific nations. A significant highlight was the participation of members of the Afghan Hazara community, who shared their experiences in safeguarding Buddhist and Hindu monuments in Afghanistan from the Taliban.
In a gesture of cultural appreciation, each dignitary was honoured with a Tibetan shawl by HinduACTion, symbolising the event's spirit of unity and respect for diverse traditions.
HinduACTion is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to empowering American pluralism by integrating STEM, meditation, and yoga with Hindu civilisational wisdom for inclusive policies, media accuracy, and community engagement.