HAF Extends Support to New Jersey Hindu Family Targeted in Hate Crime

Washington D.C. (June 15, 2006) - The Hindu American Foundation expressed dismay and shock at the hate attack on a Hindu family in Wayne, New Jersey on June 1, 2006. The home of the family of five was defaced with anti-Hindu and anti-Indian epithets spray-painted across their driveway and house. Earlier in January, the family had been targeted with hate mail as well as graffiti on their garage door.

New Jersey was witness to racially and religiously motivated attacks against Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans during the 1980’s. Young men, identifying themselves as the “Dotbusters,” targeted Hindus because Hindu women wore “dots” or “bindi” on their forehead – a traditional mark that has both spiritual symbolism and aesthetic appeal. The series of attacks ended in the murder of Indian-American Navroze Mody.

New Jersey state records indicate that hate crimes have risen by 32 percent from 2003 to 2004. Fourteen of the victims were targeted because of their Indian-American identity, while three were attacked because of their Hindu faith.

"Hate crimes are reprehensible violations that must not be tolerated in any community. I am confident that the Wayne Police Department will actively work to bring the vandal or vandals to justice and end these cowardly acts,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), an official representing Wayne in the U.S. Congress, in support of HAF’s condemnation of the attacks. “No matter who the victim, hate crimes are committed with the intention to divide communities. I join my friends in Wayne as we stand in unity with the family that has been victimized."

“It’s vital that Hindu and Indian-Americans join in support of this family,” said Ishani Chowdhury, Executive Director of the Hindu American Foundation. “We call upon law enforcement officials to provide safety for the local Hindu American community, and to apprehend the perpetrators.”