Hindus halt bill calling our swastika a hate symbol

New York State just tried and failed to get all swastikas declared hate symbols.

Even though the world’s billion-plus Hindus, Jains, and Buddhist see the swastika as a symbol of good luck and positivity, lawmakers in New York State this past week tried to pass a bill that would require educators to teach the swastika as a hate symbol. There was no language in the bill to require the teaching of its importance in eastern traditions or the Native American traditions.

Several Hindu American organizations and community members started petitions and awareness campaigns to educate New York state officials and the general public about the inaccuracies in New York State Assembly Bill A8545 and the sacred meaning behind the swastika.

Thankfully, thanks to the multi-pronged community advocacy, the bill is not moving forward!

Today, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) learned that New York State Assembly Bill A8545 will not be brought up by the Assembly Committee on Education.

“We appreciate that members of the New York State Senate and Assembly are open to hearing from Hindu Americans who, while supporting the spirit and intention of the legislation, have expressed deep concerns with the bill in its current form which inaccurately defines the swastika and ignores its origin and continued use as a positive, sacred religious symbol,” stated Taniel Koushakjian HAF Director of Public Policy.

Several Hindu American organizations and community members started petitions and awareness campaigns to educate New York state officials and the general public about the inaccuracies in the bill and the sacred meaning behind the swastika.

The New York State Senate passed companion legislation, S6648, on July 21, 2020. Of specific concern to Hindu Americans is the bill’s definition of the swastika as a symbol of Nazi Germany and therefore a symbol of hate, without explaining the historical origins and its use today as a symbol in various religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The language also missed the opportunity to acknowledge the significance of the symbol, referred to as the Whirling Log of Life, to many Native American tribes. The bill in its current form fails to explain the misappropriated use of the swastika by the Nazi party, which if incorrectly taught in public schools could endanger Hindu American students and expose them to inadvertent prejudice and hatred.

There are over 100,000 Hindu American students in the New York state public education system.

HAF Resources on the Sacred Meaning of the Swastika:

How Can the Swastika Be Redeemed? Education, Education, Education.

10 Things You Need to Know About the Swastika

6 Things You Need to Know About the Symbolism of the Swastika

https://www.hinduamerican.org/press/new-york-state-legislatures-flawed-hate-symbols-bill-stalls

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