Commending Washington Governor Jay Inslee for reported drawing attention to the recent vandalizing of Bothell and Kent Hindu temples and stressing the need of standing against acts of intolerance and hate, Hindus are urging him to create a Washington Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Hindus were highly concerned about two vandalizing incidents involving Hindu temples in Bothell and Kent in Seattle metropolitan area in February, which were about 34 miles apart. Zed, however, thanked Inslee for meeting with Hindu temple leaders on March five and condemning acts of intolerance, intimidation and violence.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that it was shocking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful US Hindu community numbering about three million; who had made lot of contributions to the nation and society; to receive such signals of hatred and anger.
Rajan Zed suggested that this Task Force, headed by the Governor, might include senior state administration officials, law enforcement agencies, school district superintendents, religious leaders, community and human/civil rights activists, academic experts, etc., and should be designed to prevent/deal-with conflicts threatening community stability and well-being and eradicate hate/bias-motivated crime, besides developing strategies and increasing awareness.
Zed noted that besides grappling with issues of hate/bias motivated crimes, this Task Force should also aim to foster strong relationships/partnerships and build trust with diverse communities through robust outreach/interaction/coordination. No Washingtonian should fear being the victim of crime because of hatred/bias based on religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other circumstances.
Rajan Zed also suggested that hate crime reporting should be further strengthened and law enforcement policies/procedures/practices should be reviewed to further energize their response to hate crimes. Creating broader awareness might also help.
Zed stressed that basics of major world religions should be taught in both public and private high schools of the state and first responders should be imparted cultural competency training so that we understood each other better in view of increasing diversity of the state.