By Rajan Zed
For Northwest Asian Weekly
We are commending Washington Governor Jay Inslee for drawing attention to the recent vandalizing of Bothell and Kent Hindu temples and stressing the need of standing against acts of intolerance and hate. Hindus are urging him to create a Washington Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes.
Hindus are highly concerned about two vandalizing incidents involving Hindu temples in Bothell and Kent in the Seattle metropolitan area in February, which were about 34 miles apart. We thanked Inslee for meeting with Hindu temple leaders on March five and condemning acts of intolerance, intimidation, and violence.
It was shocking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful US Hindu community numbering about three million; who had made many contributions to the nation and society; to receive such signals of hatred and anger.
This Task Force, headed by the Governor, might include senior state administration officials, law enforcement agencies, school district superintendents, religious leaders, community and human/civil rights activists, academic experts, etc., and should be designed to prevent and deal with conflicts threatening community stability and well-being and eradicate hate/bias-motivated crime, besides developing strategies and increasing awareness.
Besides grappling with issues of hate/bias motivated crimes, this Task Force should also aim to foster strong relationships/partnerships and build trust with diverse communities through robust outreach/interaction/coordination. No Washingtonian should fear being the victim of crime because of hatred/bias based on religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other circumstances.
We also suggest that hate crime reporting should be further strengthened and law enforcement policies/procedures/practices should be reviewed to further energize response to hate crimes. Creating broader awareness might also help.
Basics of major world religions should be taught in both public and private high schools of the state and first responders should be imparted cultural competency training so that we understood each other better in view of increasing diversity of the state. (end)
Rajan Zed is President of Universal Society of Hinduism.