Hindu Temple in Seattle Vandalized on Eve of Festival

Washington, D.C. (February 16, 2015) -- On the eve of celebrations to mark the Hindu festival of Maha Shivratri, hate graffiti was found on the side of the Seattle-area’s largest Hindu temple yesterday morning. Management from the Hindu Temple Cultural Center of Bothell, Washington immediately reported the vandalism consisting of a ‘swastika’ and ‘Get Out’ spray painted in red on the temple building to local law enforcement.

“The timing of this crime, occurring before a major Hindu festival, warrants special attention from law enforcement,” said Jay Kansara, Director of Government Relations. “We are encouraged by the ongoing thorough investigation of the Bothell City Police Department. HAF will continue to engage through the local community with city, state, and federal officials until the perpetrator(s) is brought to justice.”

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 last year. HAF has continuously encouraged community members across the country to remain vigilant with temple security in order to prevent hate violence, and to 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.

“Houses of worship are places where people should be able to be safe, at peace, and inspired to serve others,” said Padma Kuppa, HAF Board member. “Instead, the vandalism of the Hindu temple in Seattle and the arson of a mosque in Houston this past weekend incite fear and result in distrust among communities.”

HAF previously published Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry against Hindus to highlight online prejudice against Hindus.