For the past few days, the Hindu community in Leicester has been bearing the brunt of Islamist hatred.
Disinformation about a supposed attack on a mosque was spread to instigate Islamists. With the chants of 'Allah-O-Akbar', mobs targeted houses of the Hindu community, bloodied up a Hindu man and desecrated the sacred flag hoisted at a temple complex.
The attempt at intimidation isn't limited to Leicester. Yesterday (20 September), Smethwick, a town in West Midlands, witnessed an Islamist mob of more than 200 people marching towards the Durga Bhawan Hindu centre.
The mob was attempting to intimidate and frighten the local Hindu community. They were chanting 'Takhbir, Allah-O-Akbar' as they marched. Some climbed the walls of the Hindu centre in front of the police.
Hatred targeted towards Hindus is not a new phenomenon in the West. It has a rather long history and symptoms of it are pervasive in the general society, media and academia.
Many Hindus face the unenviable choice of choosing between suffering social ostracisation, hate, humiliation or shying away from their Hindu identity, shedding it, to become the 'model minority', South-Asian or a person of colour, all in an attempt to fit in, so to say.
We look at 10 instances of hatred against Hindus in the West. According to analysis by the Hindu American Foundation, there have been two significant spikes in hatred against Hindus.
One, after the September 11 attacks. Second, after 2014. Whilst explaining the spike after September 11 is easy, the spike after 2014 seems rather inexplicable.
1) On 20 March 2016, a severed head of a cow was placed in front of a Pennsylvania cow sanctuary.
The cow sanctuary was established by Sankar Sastri. Sastri's Hindu beliefs had motivated him to establish the cow sanctuary in his Upper Mount Bethel Township.
It was Sastri himself who found the severed bloodied head of the cow. Police categorised the indecent as ethnic intimidation.
2) On March 2015, Nevada Hindu leader Rajan Zed was invited to give the invocation before the Idaho State Senate.
Members of the Idaho State Senate opposed the invocation. According to these members, a Hindu shouldn't have been allowed to give the invocation. A Senator named Steve Vick led the protests.
He proclaimed that Hinduism isn't welcome in Idaho because Hindus are 'cow worshippers'. Another Senator named Sheryl Noxoll added that Hinduism is a 'false faith' because Hindus worship 'false Gods'.
3) On 15 February 2015, a Hindu temple and cultural centre in Bothell, Washington was attacked. Anti-Hindu messages were painted on the walls of the temple, in an attempt to intimidate the local Hindu community.
Eleven days after the incident in Bothell, another Hindu temple was attacked in neighbouring area of Kent, Washington. The temple was damaged and the word 'fear' was sprayed on the walls of the temple.
4) On 2 August 2014, a Hindu temple in Monroe, Georgia was attacked. This temple was attended mostly by people belonging to the Caribbean Hindu community.
The sacred murthi of Lord Shiva was desecrated and profanities were spray painted on the temple walls. The telephone lines of the temple were cut as well. The people responsible were arrested a month later but the police refused to charge them with hate crime.
5) On 28 October 2017, two Hindu men were shot at the Bharatiya Temple and Cultural Center in Lexington, Kentucky. The men were murdered during Diwali celebrations.
The perpetuators fled the scene and the incident was not investigated as a hate crime.
6) A month earlier on 18 September 2017, two Hindu storeowners, Rajesh and Vidhya Patnaik, found their shop in Indianapolis vandalised with anti-Hindu messages.
The messages spray painted on the shop called Hindus 'satanists' and 'traitors'.
7) In Germany, the Hindu priest Siva Sri Paskarakurukkal, who originally hails from Sri Lanka, was brutally attacked. Men armed with axes entered his home. Tied him and his wife up. Pepper sprayed their face.
The criminals spent two hours in the house and in the neighbouring temple. The cost of the damage was estimated at close to €100,000.
8) In Germany again, in the in the eastern German town of Mügeln, near the city of Leipzig, eight Indian men were attacked by a mob of around 50 Germans.
The Indian men were chased down by the mob as the people of the town looked on silently. "Foreigners out," the mob shouted.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany said that, "They should be warned not to live in certain regions and towns of Eastern Germany.
That is not hysteria. That is a bitter fact. Yesterday it was colored people, today it's foreigners, tomorrow it will be lesbians or homosexuals or perhaps Jews."
9) In the city of Bonn, Germany, a 24 year old Hindu student's tongue was slashed by Islamists when he refused to convert to Islam.
The Indian student was attacked on Christmas Eve as he was walking back to his home. The attackers enquired him about his religion and told him to covert. They threatened him that they would cut his tongue off if he didn't convert.
The student refused to convert and he was beaten up brutally and his tongue was slashed. The attackers fled the scene in a car. A passerby discovered the student lying on the road and bleeding and called an ambulance.
10) On December 2015, a Hindu student at Penn State University was attacked by his fellow classmate. His fellow classmate, Nicholas Tavella asked him if he was going to rape a girl.
After asking the question he assaulted him and then said, "don't make me put a bullet in your chest."
A fair amount of blame for the incident lies on Indian media's disproportionate and hyper sensational coverage of crimes such as rape, which creates such pernicious stereotypes.
Anti-Hindu sentiment often blends in with anti-India sentiment and both are in essence same. Anti-India sentiment is rooted in anti-Hindu sentiment. Hindu communities, for most of their history, have hesitated to speak out against hatred and chosen to ignore it.
Now, Hindu communities are slowly beginning to speak up, although it is a long road.
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