Community Unites to Clean Gang Graffiti Targeting Dallas-area Hindu Temple
Dallas, TX (April 20, 2015) - Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) praised the residents of Old Lake Highlands as they joined members of the North Texas Hindu Mandir this past Saturday to clean the graffiti spraypainted on the temple by vandals last week.
Neighbors and community members brought cleaning supplies and joined their fellow Hindu Americans to bring the temple back to its original state by painting over the violent gang symbols and other hateful messages. Local law enforcement officials also increased patrolling around the temple area.
“Mandir members and the Board are saddened by this event, but at the same time feel it has brought us closer to our neighbors and Old Lake Highlands residents,” said Shiva Maharaj, President of the North Texas Hindu Mandir. “The Mandir has always had a great relationship with our neighbors, but after this event, their outpouring of concern has sincerely touched us. We thank them for helping us with our ‘Clean Up Day - Painting over the Pain, while Rolling on New Memories'.”
This is the first time North Texas Hindu Mandir has been attacked since its founding in 2002. Temple officials stated that they would soon add surveillance cameras and construct a fence to ensure to temple’s safety and security.
“An attack on any house of worship is an affront to all people of faith,” said Dr. Rajiv Pandit, HAF Executive Council Member in Dallas. “And while this latest crime adds to a growing trend of intolerance towards the Hindu and other minority communities, the support shown by the temple’s neighbors represents one of the greatest qualities of everyday Americans.”
In October 2014, HAF released A Guide to Temple Safety and Security for Hindu American houses of worship and community centers after similar incidents of vandalism took place in Loudoun County, Virginia and in Monroe, Georgia. HAF has continuously encouraged community members across the country to remain vigilant with their temple’s security in order to prevent hate violence, cultivate good relations with local law enforcement, and report crimes immediately if and when they do occur. As of January 1, 2015, the Department of Justice ordered all crime reporting forms to include the category anti-Hindu under the possible motives of hate crimes.
Last month, HAF also worked closely to connect community leaders with Justice Department and federal law enforcement officials when temples were similarly targeted with vandalism in Bothell and Kent, Washington state.
HAF previously published Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry against Hindus to highlight online prejudice against Hindus.