Hindu Americans Shocked by Alabama Church Burnings

TAMPA, Fl (Feb. 11, 2006) – A series of suspected arson attacks on nine Baptist churches in Alabama has shocked the Hindu American community, reminding them of similar attacks on temples across the country. Over the past week, nine churches in central Alabama were set ablaze in two strings of attacks. Federal and state investigators suspect the fires were intentional but have yet to determine any motive.

After September 11th, 2001, several Hindu temples across North America and the United Kingdom have been targets of vandalism, firebombing and arson attacks. In recently released statistics, the FBI reported that in 2004 alone, there were 1,197 hate crime incidents that were religiously motivated.1

“Having faced similar attacks in the past, Hindu Americans empathize with the congregations affected by these heinous crimes,” said Pawan Deshpande, member of the Executive Council of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF). “Because places of worship are central to many communities, we hope that law enforcement will be able to expeditiously apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators.”