Hindu Council supports UN World Harmony Week 2019 in Melbourne

By: Hindu Council Melbourne Chapter.

The Melbourne chapter of Hindu Council participated in and supported 2019 UN World Harmony Week. The event was attended by Mr Makarand Bhagwat.

World Interfaith Harmony Week is a UN resolution for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony proposed in 2010 by King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. The World Interfaith Harmony Week falls in the first week of February of every year[1][2] and aims to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. 

The basis for the World Interfaith Harmony Week is the A Common Word Initiative which was authored by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad and released in 2007. The A Common Word Initiative and the World Interfaith Harmony Week stem from the idea that humanity is bound together by the two shared commandments of ‘Love of God and Love of the Neighbor’ or ‘Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor’.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Prince Ghazi of Jordan stated that the aim of the Interfaith Harmony Week would be fulfilled by:

permanently and regularly encouraging the silent majority of preachers to declare themselves for peace and harmony and providing a ready-made vehicle for them to do so … if preachers and teachers commit themselves on the record once a year to peace and harmony, this means that when the next interreligious crisis or provocation occurs, they cannot then relapse into parochial fear and mistrust, and will be more likely to resist the winds of popular demagoguery[6]

The UN resolution on the World Interfaith Harmony Week states:[7]

The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 53/243 of 6 October 1999 on the declaration and programme of action relating to a culture of peace; 57/6 of November 2002 concerning the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence; 58/128 of 19 December 2003 on the promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation; 64/164 of 18 December 2009 on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief;
64/81 of 7 December 2009 on the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace, and 64/14 of 10 November 2009 on the Alliance of Civilizations. Recognising the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people. Recalling with appreciation various global, regional and sub-regional initiatives on mutual understanding and interfaith harmony including, inter alia, the Tripartite Forum for Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, and the “A Common Word”.
Recognising that the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions, and beliefs call for peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding:
  1. Reaffirms that mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.
  2. Proclaims the first week of February of every year the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs.
  3. Encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week based on Love of God and Love of the Neighbour, or based on Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbour, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions.
  4. Requests the secretary general to keep the General Assembly informed of the implementation of the present resolution.
Melbourne UN 2019 WIHW A4 Flyer Final print 3

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Hindu Council support Uluru Statement from the Heart

By: Makarand Bhagwat.

Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) joined faith leaders at the celebration of the 2019 UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, to stop and listen to the voice of aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people in hope of reconciliation and healing our nation’s broken heart.
 
The event was held on Sunday 17th February at St Oswald Anglican Church, where Makarand Bhagwat, on behalf of Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) joined leaders from Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Islam and Sikh faith leaders and extended the support of Hindu community, to seek constitutional reforms to empower the aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community people.

Uluru Statement of the Heart faith leaders. Mr Makarand Bhagwat of Hindu Council is second from left

 
ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
 
We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
 
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
 
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or
extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
 
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years? With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
 
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem.
 
This is the torment of our powerlessness.
 
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
 
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history. In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our
trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

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Aranmore school getting its own Hindu priestly advice to justify Nose Stud fiasco

@arancc #hinduism #nosepiercing @hinducouncilau

A young Hindu year 10 student has been asked not to come to school wearing a Hindu religious symbol, a nose stud, as it is against school policy.

Parents of the girl explained to the school that the nose stud is not a fashion item but a spiritual icon. Hindu Council of Australia has also approached the school and explained that the nose stud is a religious item.

Despite being advised by the Hindu Council of Australia and by the parents, the school is now, it seems, shopping around for a Hindu priest to advise them on the nose stud and its relevance to Hindu/Indian culture.

This is strange.

Hindu Council of Australia is a federation of Hindu temples and Hindu organizations all over Australia. It has members in every state of Australia. Hindu Council of Australia is recognized by state and federal governments to advise it on Hindu issues very much like the government depends on Churches to advise it on Christian religious issues. Hindu Council also advises Australian governments  on Hindu marriage rituals etc.

For a christian school to ignore the advise of a Hindu parent and then the advice of peak Hindu body like Hindu Council of Australia and to embark on its own journey to find a priest to interpret Hinduism for the school when the school stand is well known, is like shopping around for a favorable opinion. It is not appropriate for a religion to start interpreting the doctrine, ritual or practices of another religion. It will not help religious harmony and certainly does not make multicultural Australia very proud.

How would Christians feel if a Hindu school in order to justify its interpretation of Christianity, which is at odd with the Christian Churches, shops around for a Christian priest or a scholar to justify what it wants Christianity to be. Such a thing would not be acceptable and what the school is doing should not be either. We can not accept Aranmore school to determine what is and what is not essential to Hinduism. Off course, Hindus will never try to tell Christians as to what is or is not a Christian practice. It will accept whatever Christians say as final in this matter.

The school has not been open about its policy, if there is one, on allowing religious symbols worn by its non-christian students. The school has not made its stand clear as to what will it do if its shopping exercise does not produce the results it wants. Will it accept the student back or will it still continue to throw the extensive and unpublished rule book at its non-christian students.

There is a need for a uniform policy on how faith based schools would treat students of other faiths in their school. For the sake of a cohesive strong Australia, that all of us want, we should allow students of different cultures, beliefs, backgrounds and faiths to mingle together in schools. We should not create island of faith based schools where students of one particular faiths grow insulated from beliefs that belong to “other”. All faith schools should have an open and not restrictive policy that raises the bar for people of “other” faith to study with them.

Hindu Council of Australia calls upon Catholic Archbishops and Catholic education organizations to

(1) not to interpret what is essential to other faiths and

(2) have school policies that pass the test of encouraging a mix of faiths in their schools rather than uniformity.

Off course, Hindu Council accepts that all faith based schools, including Christian schools, should be free to teach their own interpretation of their faith.

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Hindu Council writes to Archbishop of Perth about Nose Stud

Hindu Council of Australia writes to the Principal of Aranmore Catholic College and Archbishop Perth to recognize Nose Piercing and Bindi as acceptable Hindu religious symbols in Catholic schools.

Hindu Council has expressed its willingness to work with the school and others to resolve the issue resulting from ignorance i.e. lack of knowledge about Hindu icons. It is ready to work with Catholic organizations to help Catholic schools to become more friendly to non-christian students of Hindu faith studying in their schools.

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Hindu Council to take up Nose Piercing restriction with Catholic establishment

By: Surinder Jain.

Hindu Council of Australia has taken up the issue of a Hindu student being kicked out of a Catholic school for a religious nose piercing with Catholic Educational establishment. According to Hindu Council’s multi-faith director, the recent misunderstanding among Catholic schools about Hindu culture and traditions has a potential of affecting the harmony between our communities in Australia and the reputation of Catholic schools among Indians.

Hindu Council believes that it is simply an issue of Catholics being unaware of Hindu traditions and that it can be easily resolved by making Catholic school teachers aware of Hindu sensitivities.
 
Hindu Council of Australia is keen on taking up the general issue of Catholic schools permitting religious symbols of non-christian students in their schools. It is understood that all Catholic schools permit Sikh students to wear turbans and similar exemptions exist for some other religions also. Hindu Council would like to explain that nose piercing is not a fashion or rebellion statement of a teenager but is a deep rooted cultural and religious ritual for girls going through puberty.
 
In Hindu culture, a girl who achieved menarche, or her first period, is feted, and pampered at a ceremony where family and close friends gather and lavish gifts on her. The girl would be bathed in fragrant water after applying oil, turmeric etc. she would be bedecked in fine clothes, flowers and ornaments – and her feet would be washed. This is because Hinduism celebrates, and does not abhor menstruation. The Shakti philosophy upholds it as a gift which is responsible for creation of life. Nose piercing of the girl and placing a metal stud is a ritual that is invariably accompanied. As is true of any cultural or religious tradition, most Hindu parents want to and do observe these rituals very sincerely.
 
Hindu Council of Australia, has asked Catholic establishment to meet a Hindu Council delegation. Hindu Council would like to discuss the issue of Nose Piercing by young girls with the Catholic hierarchy so that the information can be disseminated by them to all catholic schools in Australia.

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Hindu student kicked out of a Catholic school for a religious nose piercing

By: Hindu Human Rights – http://www.hinduhumanrights.info.

Hindu girl in Perth Australia, has been barred from her Catholic school after she had her nose pierced for cultural and religious reasons.

At Aranmore Catholic College, Sanya Singhal, 15, was ordered to remove the tiny new stud in her left nostril or go home. The Year 10 pupil showed teachers a note from her mother and tried to explain the stud could not be removed for 12 months for religious reasons, but was told she could not attend class until she took it out.

Sanya’s mother, Kalyani, said it was a spiritually significant custom in northern India for young girls to have a nose pin inserted to mark their transition to womanhood.

 

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Winner of the Gargi Woman 2019 Awards are …..

Hindu Council of Australia awards Gargi Woman Award to outstanding women in Australia who make a good role model for growing up Hindu girls and women. The award consists of a commendation letter and is awarded in multiple categories.

On International Women’s Day the winners will be announced for 2019 Gargi Woman Award. Please join us in celebrating the achievements of these outstanding women.

Date : 9th March 2019 – 5pm to 8:30pm

Venue :  Grevillea Room , Wentworthville Community Hub

Come and join an evening filled with great events – Award ceremony, Guest presentation, cultural events and dinner.

THIS IS A PRIVATE INVITE ONLY EVENT

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Desecrating Hindu temples by tolerant religion becoming a global phenomena

Another Hindu temple has been vandalized, this time in Louisville, America.

The crime signatures are very similar to Bhartiye Mandir, Reagents Park, Sydney, Australia vandalization event that took place a few months back. There was an outpouring of anger and disgust by Australians including from those sharing the religion of the vandals. Local mayor and council reacted swiftly to help clean up. All major political party leaders condemned the incident helping to heal the wounds and preserve unity and cohesiveness of multicultural Australia. You can read about the Australian incident by clicking here. The Australian Hindu leaders and community did not publicize the perpetrators religious persuation to avoid affecting harmony among Australians.

The crime in America seems to show the hallmark of same fundamentalist religious extremism as was in the Australian incident.

Hindu Council of Australia condemns the vandalisation of Hindu temples and calls upon other religious leaders and all Australians to condemn this incident.

Please register your protest here.


Hate Crime: Hindu Temple Vandalised In US’s Louisville; “Jesus Is All Mighty”, “Jesus Is Lord” Messages Posted On Walls

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 04:27 AM PST

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In a hate crime, a Hindu temple has been vandalised in the US state of Kentucky by miscreants who sprayed black paint on the deity and left a knife stabbed into a chair in the main hall.

The incident happened between Sunday night and Tuesday morning at the Swaminarayan Temple in the Louisville city.

According to local media report, vandalism resulted in deity image sprayed with black paint, broken windows, walls spray-painted with inappropriate messages and graffiti. A knife was stabbed in the chair, and cabinets were emptied. The incident has sent shock waves through the Indian-American community in Louisville Kentucky.

Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Condemning the incident of vandalism, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called upon the city residents to stand up against this hatred.

“Anytime we see hatred or bigotry we will stand against it. The cowards who did this have only given our community more fuel and determination to embrace compassion, understanding, and each other,” Fischer said as he visited the vandalised temple Wednesday.

“Sometime between the end of services at the Swaminarayan Temple on Bardstown Road on Sunday and the time a repairman arrived on Tuesday morning, vandals broke into a window and vandalised spots throughout the building,” he said. The vandalism of this temple, Fischer said is another example of the work “we still have to do as a city and a nation to make sure we live to our ideals of equality, of a country where everyone is treated with the respect we all deserve.” Fischer said that the vandals wrote “repugnant messages of hate.” “Regardless of what religion you are, this should not happen,” Raj Patel from the Swaminarayan temple said. “We come here to worship. We should not have to turn our backs to see who is behind us, but we should be happy to come here and worship in peace,” he added.

Describing the desecration as “heartbreaking”, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad told reporters that the police will provide additional security to the temple.

“What I’m here to do today is to assure everyone that attends this temple that we will do our best to find and hold accountable the person or persons who committed this vandalism and this hate crime,” Conrad said.

Kentucky State Representative Nima Kulkarni, the first Indian-American elected to the Kentucky General Assembly, said the vandalism was an “act of intimidation designed to weaken our faith and community”. There has been a number of such incidents across the US in previous years. In April 2015, a Hindu temple in north Texas has been vandalised with nasty images spray-painted on its walls.

In February 2015, Hindu temples in Kent and the Seattle Metropolitan area were also vandalised.

HinduStan Times

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NZ Indian Anzacs

By : Radio NZ.

Many Indians enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during World War I and their stories are now part of an international touring exhibition  Frames of Bravery which was recently on show at Wellington City Library.

Exhibition curator and historian Harchand Singh Bedi travelled from Malaysia to bring the stories of these men to light.

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Australia Day celebrated

By: Surinder Jain.

Both, India the land of Janma Bhumi of Hindus and Australia the karma bhumi of Australian Hindus, share 26th January as a very special day. India became a republic with its own constitution on 26th January. 26th January also marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove.

In present-day Australia, celebrations of Australia Day reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community.[1]

In keeping with the spirit of multicultural Australia, The Honourable Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales invited various communities including Hindu Council to take part in Australia Day celebrations at Western Sydney Community Reception in Penrith.

Jay Raman, Premier, Surinder Jain and Ashwani Jain

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