Tag: hate

Hindus for Human Rights urges for exemption of Hindu swastika while banning Nazi imagery

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 11 October 2021: The Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), Australia & New Zealand has urged the Victorian government to exempt the ‘Hindu Swastika’ when it bans the public display of Nazi symbols illegal in Victoria. It “advises caution about inadvertently targeting Hindus.” Basically, the point being that the Nazi symbol and the Hindu Swastika are different. And, the Hindu Swastika has no connection to the Nazi symbol, a symbol of fascism and hate.

In a media statement Emailed to SAT, the HfHR informs the state government, “We are writing to you on behalf of Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), an advocacy organisation that provides a platform for progressive Hindus to speak out in support of democratic freedoms and pluralism.”

The rest of the release says:

“Hindus for Human Rights applauds the Victorian Government’s decision to make the public display of Nazi symbols illegal. Recent anti-Semitic incidents have used Nazi imagery to target Jewish Australians, and a ban on hateful imagery would help diverse Victorians feel safe in their communities. However, HfHR is concerned that without specific language exempting the Hindu Swastika from scrutiny, Hindus could inadvertently become a target of these new laws.

The word “swastika” means “conducive to well-being” in Sanskrit. While the Swastika was used by the Nazis as a symbol of hate, it was originally used by Hindus as a symbol of prosperity and good luck, and Hindus continue to use the symbol to represent the faith today. Buddhists also consider the symbol to be sacred, representing the footprints of Buddha. Swastikas are often present on the doorsteps of homes, and people often wear the swastika on jewelry for good luck. The Hindu swastika and Nazi Hakenkreuz also look completely different.

Most Hindu Australians are aware of the history of the Holocaust and the implications of the Swastika in Western society and do not generally display the symbol in public. However, for Hindus, the outright banning of this symbol is hurtful, saying a beautiful symbol of faith, stolen in the name of genocide, is inherently evil. Under these new laws, Hindus may also risk facing significant fines and jail time. For people who have recently immigrated and are unfamiliar with the Nazi swastika, this law could cause particularly dangerous consequences.

HfHR recommends that any statutes, policies, or other legal documents created to ban Nazi imagery create an exemption for the Hindu Swastika. Guidance to enforcement agencies must also explain the difference between the Nazi and Hindu swastikas to avoid inadvertent targeting of the Hindu community.

Hindus for Human Rights – Australia and New Zealand (HfHR-ANZ) is the Australian and Aotearoa branch of Hindus for Human Rights USA, which was founded in 2019. We advocate for pluralism and human rights in South Asia and beyond, rooted in the values of our Hindu faith: shanti (peace), nyaya (justice) and satya (truth). We provide a Hindu voice of resistance to caste, Hindutva (Hindu majoritarianism), and all forms of bigotry and oppression. We work with a broad coalition of partners to educate elected officials and the public in Australasia about human rights issues in South Asia. Our advocacy takes many forms, including government briefings, peaceful protests, op-eds, webinars, conferences, and social media mobilisation.”

Muslim family killed in terror attack in London, Ontario: Islamophobic violence surfaces once again in Canada

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Four members of a Pakistani-Canadian family were killed by a man in a truck in what police are calling a hate-motivated attack. This photo, released by the family, shows the victims (left to right): Yumna Afzaal, 15, Madiha Salman, 44, Talat Afzaal, 74, and Salman Afzaal, 46.

By Jasmine Zine, Professor of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University

A Pakistani-Canadian family out on a stroll on a warm weekend evening was murdered in a horrific act of Islamophobic violence in London, Ont. A nine-year-old boy, hospitalized with serious injuries, is the only survivor of a terror attack that killed his sister, father, mother, and grandmother.

How will he make sense of this unthinkable tragedy? This was not an accident. Police have said his family — his father, Salman Afzaal, his mother Madiha Salman, his 15-year-old sister Yumna Afzaal and his grandmother, Talat Afzaal — was “targeted because of their Muslim faith” and hit by a speeding truck. How do you process this targeted hate and violence at such a young age?

While Canadians may be shocked and blindsided by this mass murder, the ingredients for this tragedy have long been in the making. The warning signs of white nationalist violence have been glaring.

Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada grew 253 percent between 2012 and 2015. The 2017 terror attack in a mosque in Québec left six men dead after offering their evening prayers. Last year, a caretaker in a Toronto mosque was stabbed and killed and the person charged with his murder is alleged to have been influenced by neo-Nazi social media posts.

Not just far-right groups

But it’s not only far-right fringe groups that hold anti-Muslim views.

Results from a 2016 Forum Poll revealed that 41 per cent of Canadian adults expressed some level of bias against identifiable racial groups, with Muslims having the highest negative rating at 28 per cent.

Another survey published in 2016, by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, found that only 32 per cent of Ontarians had a “positive impression” of Islam.

The following year, a survey done for Radio Canada revealed that almost one in four Canadians would favour a ban on Muslim immigration, with the level of support for this ban rising to 32 per cent in Québec. Most respondents (51 per cent in Canada, 57 per cent in Québec) felt the presence of Muslims in this country made them “somewhat” or “very worried” about security.

A breeding ground for violence

These negative views of the Muslim presence in Canada create a breeding ground for xenophobic racial violence.

I research Canadian Islamophobia and its networks that produce hate and circulate destructive ideologies.

There is a networked ecosystem of Islamophobic hate groups in Canada that promote conspiracy theories about Muslims threatening “Canadian values” and western civilization, plotting to impose “creeping shariah law” and political Islamism.

Other problematic rhetoric includes the liberal washing of white nationalism that politically camouflages xenophobic, Islamophobic and racist ideologies under the guise of “protecting democracy,” “freedom” and the “rule of law” from what are regarded as illiberal, anti-modern and anti-democratic Muslims.

Once again, it is not just extremist groups that promote Islamophobia. Canadian security policies have targeted Muslim communities for surveillance and scrutiny leading to targeted racial and religious profiling . Bill 21, the Québec law that bans certain civil servants from wearing religious symbols, follows decades of policies mandating the coerced unveiling of Muslim women who wear Islamic attire that effectively institutionalizes gendered Islamophobia.

Anti-Muslim racism is normalized

Through these policies and practices, liberal Islamophobia normalizes anti-Muslim racism and constructs Muslims as suspect and inferior citizens.

My research on Islamophobia, spanning more than a decade, has underscored these and other concerns that anti-Muslim racism poses in Canada. I have documented the repercussions of anti-Muslim racism on Muslim youth in my forthcoming book Under Siege: Islamophobia and the 9/11 Generation.

Mourners at a funeral are in tears and console each other as they lean over caskets
A man breaks down next to the caskets of three of the six victims of the 2017 Québec City mosque shooting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
The 9/11 generation of Muslim youth have come of age at a time when their faith and identity are under siege. This is a condition that has been exacerbated with two hate crimes resulting in mass murder in Canada in the past four years. The risks for the Muslim community are palpable. There is heightened fear and anxiety along with grief and mourning.

The calls to action from the local Muslim community in London, Ont., include an immediate national summit on Islamophobia in Canada. This is an important step to begin the work that needs to be done challenging Canadian Islamophobia.

Call for national summit on Islamophobia

This summit should have been undertaken after the Québec mosque shooting four years ago. Canada’s national amnesia surrounding this attack was finally addressed with a National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia. We now have another horrific tragedy to remember and mourn and yet very little action on Islamophobia.

For Fayez Salman, the nine-year-old survivor whose world has been shattered by this hatred, none of this matters right now. As a scholar of Islamophobia studies, I can analyze what kinds of social, cultural and political factors precipitated the racist Islamophobic violence that destroyed his family and permanently altered the course of his life, but in the end God only knows how Fayez will make sense of this tragedy. Our prayers are with him.

Source- The Conversation, June 8, 2021. (Under Creative Commons Licence)