Georgia Becomes First US State to Officially Condemn "Hinduphobia"

Georgia made history as the first state in the US to take a legislative measure condemning Hinduphobia when the state’s General Assembly filed a resolution denouncing it.

The resolution comes as places in the United States, such as Seattle, Washington, made history by passing laws banning caste-based discrimination. California also plans to take similar action when state senator Aisha Wahab proposed a measure explicitly banning caste discrimination.

Republican state representatives Lauren McDonald and Todd Jones passed the resolution in the House of Representatives. They represent Forsyth County in the Atlanta suburbs, home to some of Georgia's biggest Hindu and Indian-American communities.

The resolution started by stating that Hinduism is one of the world’s biggest and oldest religions, with about 1.2 billion adherents, practiced in around 100 countries and composed of diverse traditions and beliefs with values of mutual respect, acceptance, and peace.

It also recognized the many contributions made by the Hindu and Indian-American community to the United States in various fields like medicine, science, engineering, business, IT, hospitality, finance, academia, energy, manufacturing, and retail, among many others. 

The resolution also noted the cultural contributions made by the Indian-American and Hindu communities that helped enrich America’s social fabric, like ayurveda, yoga, food, arts, music, and meditation, which improved the lives of millions of Americans that adopted them.

It also discussed the documented bigotry and hate crimes against Hindu Americans over the last few decades in many parts of the United States. The resolution also accused some in the academia of exacerbating Hinduphobia for allegedly supporting the dismantling of the religion and accusing its religious texts and cultural practices of violence and oppression.

The Atlanta chapter of the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) organized the state’s first-ever Hindu Advocacy Day held on March 22nd at the Georgia State Capitol.

Twenty-five lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties attended the event to join the Hindu community in understanding their concerns, facilitate the inclusion of Hindu voices in crucial decision-making processes, and promise to find ways to combat discrimination against the community.

"It was a true honor to work with Rep McDonald and Rep Jones as well as other lawmakers who guided us through the whole process of getting this County Resolution passed," Rajeev Menon, vice president of CoHNA, said.

"We also heard that all the lawmakers had been working really long hours given the amount of legislative items on the agenda, but still decided to join us at the Advocacy Day to show how much they value the Hindu community," he added.

"The issues faced by Hindu Americans in Georgia and the rest of the country via false, Hinduphobic narratives are negatively impacting a community that has been hardworking, law-abiding, and enriching the fabric of America." Shobha Swamy, general secretary of CoHNA, also stated.

"We urged for their help in combating such bigotry which advances hatred and creates the idea that Hindus and people of Indian origin need special laws and monitoring due to allegations around some inherent propensity to discriminate," she added.

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