HomeIndian AmericanCalifornia sees rise in Hinduphobia and Anti-Hindu violence

California sees rise in Hinduphobia and Anti-Hindu violence

Over the past year, California has seen a sharp rise in Hinduphobia and hate crimes motivated by anti-Hindu sentiment.

The report, released by the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) on May 20, is based upon information from the yearlong California vs Hate campaign. California vs Hate provides a hotline and portal for people to report incidents anonymously, and helps support individuals and communities affected by hate crimes.

The data shows that Hinduphobia was the second-most reported form of religion-based hatred in California, with anti-Semitism being the most reported, and Islamophobia being the third-most reported. “Anti-Jewish (36.9%), anti-Hindu (23.3%) and anti-Muslim (14.6%) were the most cited reasons for reports related to religious targeting”, said the report.

The data showed that there were 1,020 actual reports of hate based on the information provided by the individual reporting the incident. Out of that number, four out of six people who reached out agreed to follow up for care coordination services such as direct and ongoing support to access legal aid of counseling. In addition, “Nearly 80% of California’s counties were represented, including all 10 of the state’s most populated counties”. Out of the 1,020 reported incidents, 560 have since been verified.

For that subset, the most cited bias motivations were race and ethnicity (35.1%), gender identity (15.1%), and sexual orientation (10.8%). However the report does specify an exact percentage of incidents motivated by hatred towards a certain religion.

The most common reasons for the reports were discriminatory treatment (18.4%), verbal harassment (16.7%), and derogatory names and slurs (16.7%). The most common locations where such incidents occurred were residential (29.9%), workplace (9.7%), and public facilities (9.1%).

“The report confirms what we already knew: Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu incidents are more prevalent than previously reported.”, said Samir Karla, the Managing Director of Policy and Programs at the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), in an interview with IndiaWest. Karla brought up several incidents including the desecration and vandalism of temples, and the harassment and intimidation of Hindus in the San Francisco Bay Area by extremists.

Examples of this include the Vijay’s Sherawali Temple in Hayward, California, and the Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple in Newark, California, which were both subject to Hinduphobic and anti-India graffiti by vandals.

The spike in Hinduphobic hate crimes parallels the data from the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, which reported 22 hate crimes against Hindus in 2022. However, critics argued that most hate crimes are generally under-reported due to multiple reasons, such as voluntary law enforcement, as well as the high burden of proof needed to charge hate crimes.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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