LOUISVILLE, Kentucky–Hindus are appalled and dismayed at the reports of vandalizing and desecration of Hindu temple in Louisville, Kentucky. Officials have called it “Cowardly” vandalism and a hate crime, according to news reports.
Reports suggest that this vandalism, desecration and apparent hate crime (between Sunday night and Tuesday morning) at Shree Swaminarayan Temple Kentucky resulted in deity image sprayed with black paint, broken windows, walls spray-painted with inappropriate messages and graffiti, knife stuck in the chair, emptied cabinets, etc.; causing damage to this house of worship and sending the Hindu community in a state of anguish.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said in a statement that it was shocking and heartbreaking for the Hindus to observe the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful US Hindu community receiving such signals of hatred and intimidation.
Louisville officials called Wednesday the vandalism of the Hindu temple in Buechel a hate crime and asked the community to help clean up the temple and find those responsible for the “cowardly” act, reported Louisville Courier Journal.
Standing alongside temple members and other officials inside the temple Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Greg Fischer said vandals broke windows at Swaminarayan Temple, 4032 Bardstown Road, and wrote hateful words on temple walls, according to Louisville Courier Journal.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad called the vandalism a hate crime and said police would be at the temple this Sunday to make sure the community is safe, the newspaper reported.
Sometime between Sunday evening and Tuesday morning, vandals broke in and spray-painted “repugnant messages of hate” in the temple, Fischer said. In an upstairs room of the temple, profane messages were spray-painted on the walls along with several black crosses. Phrases including “Jesus Is All Mighty,” “Jesus Is Lord” and “God” were also sprayed in black paint on the walls, according to Louisville Courier Journal
Hindu statesman Zed urged Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin to visit the vandalized temple and meet the Hindu community in Louisville area to reassure them. This issue should be taken seriously and urgently, and efforts should be made to make sure that such incidents did not happen in the future, Zed indicated.
As an interfaith gesture, Zed urged Roman Catholic Archbishop of Louisville Joseph E. Kurtz, Episcopal Bishop of Kentucky Terry Allen White and area leaders of other religions to strongly condemn this vandalizing and also visit the vandalized temple to show their solidarity with the dismayed Hindus.
Zed also urged Kentuckians to publicly denounce the vandalism, stand up and speak against this unacceptable act.
Shree Swaminarayan Temple Kentucky is affiliated to Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, a “worldwide centre for spiritual, cultural and social welfare”, headquartered in Maninagar, Ahmedabad (India). It has temples and congregations in India, Europe, Americas, Africa, Far East.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.