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Connecting Global Threads of Faith April Newsletter 1 (April 1-15)

Dear Readers,

In the vast expanse of global news, our fortnightly report seeks to shed light on the often-obscured narratives of violence and persecution endured by Hindus worldwide. Through meticulous curation of incidents reported by esteemed news agencies, we aim to raise awareness about the richness of Hindu culture and advocate for the protection of fundamental rights while celebrating the invaluable heritage of Hinduism. Even amidst the boundless reach of globalization, where communication traverses continents effortlessly, the plight of Hindus frequently languishes in the shadows, overlooked or underreported.


The April edition of our newsletter brings to light both moments of celebration and instances of concern for the Hindu community worldwide. From the joyous inauguration of Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple, welcoming thousands of visitors and fostering interfaith dialogue, to the heart-wrenching demolition of the historic 'Khyber Temple' in Pakistan's Khyber district, these stories encapsulate the diverse experiences of Hindus around the globe.


In addition to highlighting incidents of violence, persecution, and discrimination against Hindus globally, our editorial seeks to celebrate positive initiatives that uplift the Hindu community.


Furthermore, as we observe Chaitra Navratri, a vibrant festival celebrated with fervor and devotion across India and among the Hindu community worldwide, it is essential to recognize its significance. Chaitra Navratri, dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga and her various forms, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and serves as a time for spiritual renewal and seeking divine blessings. This auspicious festival not only strengthens the bond among devotees but also reinforces the values of unity, harmony, and cultural heritage cherished by Hindus worldwide.


We also celebrate the cultural richness and inclusivity exemplified by the Baps Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, which has become a beacon of spiritual harmony, drawing people from all walks of life. The temple's intricate carvings and vibrant festivals symbolize the resilience and vitality of Hindu heritage, transcending geographical boundaries.


Similarly, the historic Ganga aarti held on the banks of the Kishenganga river at Teetwal, near the Line of Control in Kashmir, marks a significant moment of religious revival and cultural resurgence. This sacred ritual, conducted after 75 years, underscores the enduring spiritual connection of Hindus to their ancestral roots and sacred sites, despite geographical and political challenges.


However, amidst these moments of celebration, we cannot overlook the distressing reality faced by Hindus in certain regions, as exemplified by the demolition of the 'Khyber Temple' in Pakistan. This act of cultural erasure not only deprives future generations of their heritage but also reflects a broader pattern of discrimination and neglect towards religious minorities. The lack of accountability and disregard for the preservation of historical sites underscore the urgent need for greater protection of minority rights and religious freedoms.


Furthermore, the resolution introduced in the US House of Representatives condemning Hinduphobia and hate crimes against Hindus highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the community, both domestically and internationally. It is imperative that governments and institutions take concrete steps to combat bigotry and ensure the safety and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their religious beliefs. But it will not happen without the proactive engagement by Hindu communities in raising their voice against Hinduphobia. We have seen the benefits of such engagement in California (withdrawal of a legislation SB403 against Hindus) and rejection of comments of a well known Hinduphobe Pieter Friedrich by Council of Munro city in the USA. These efforts were led by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and Coalition of Hindus of North America (COHNA).


As we express our solidarity with fellow Hindus facing persecution and discrimination, it is imperative that we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the values and respect within our community. The demolition of the 'Khyber Temple' serves as a stark reminder of the challenges Hindus endure, underscoring the urgency of advocating for justice and protection of our religious heritage. By amplifying our voices and engaging with policymakers, we can work towards ensuring that Hindus can practice their religion freely and without fear of persecution. Together, let us strive to build a world where the rights and dignity of Hindus are respected and safeguarded.



Dr Vinay Nalwa


In a world interconnected by the threads of globalization, the flow of information has become more pervasive than ever before. However, amid this vast sea of news, there exists a poignant narrative that often remains hidden – the violence against Hindus and the persecution they endure across various regions. This fortnightly report endeavours to bring out these often-overlooked incidents, providing an unbiased and comprehensive selection of news agencies’ reports on violence, persecution and discrimination faced by the Hindu community globally along with the positive reports celebrating Hindu Heritage.

The primary objective of this report is to present a clear and objective overview of incidents as reported by credible news agencies. By collating and analysing this information, our aim is to raise awareness about Hindu culture and values besides advocating for the protection of the fundamental rights and freedom of religion for Hindus worldwide.

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple has already welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors since its opening, and is anticipates even more visitors for several festivals that will be celebrated this month.

About 65,000 people turned out at the temple on the first Sunday, March 3, that the shrine opened its doors to the public weeks after its inauguration by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Now, 30,000 people on average visit the complex every Sunday with the weekend waiting time often stretching to one-and-a-half hours, temple authorities said.



India: Deceitful conversions, historic aarti at Sharda Mandir after 75 years, ancient Shiva idol vandalized in Uttar Pradesh

A Madhya Pradesh district court has sentenced a couple to two years in jail for allegedly forcing their niece’s husband to adopt Christianity, officials familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Accused Ramesh Ahirwar Masih, 40, and his wife Sakhi Masih, 40, both residents of Vivek Nagar in Sagar district were found guilty under Section 3 read with Section 5 of Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act 2021.

“They lured the complainant to adopt Christianity to get a job of Rs.20,000 per month. They also threatened him that if he did not accept Christianity, his wife Sapna, who is a niece of the accused, would be given the job and she would leave him,” Jarolia said.

In its recent order, the district court found that accused Ramesh and Sakhi have not only tempted, pressured and exerted undue influence on Abhishek to convert to religion, but have also encouraged his wife and others to convert.


For the first time after a gap of 75 years, Ganga aarti was held on the banks of Kishenganga river at Teetwal, close to the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday.

“Scores of pilgrims from all over the country took part in the event. This was the first time after Partition that the devotees who visited Sharda Temple at LoC Teetwal, took a dip in the holy Kishenganga Rriver, close to Sharda Mata Mandir,” the statement said.

In March last year, Union Home Minister of India inaugurated the Sharda Devi Temple at Teetwal in Kupwara district. This new temple is nestled on the banks of the Kishenganga river, close to the Line of Control (LoC).

The original Sharda Temple, a revered ancient shrine and centre of learning known as Sharda Peeth, stands in Neelam Valley across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The river known as Kishenganga in India is referred to as Neelum in Pakistan.


Tension gripped Igata Village, which falls under Khasra Police Station, after an ancient idol of Lord Shiva was found desecrated in a Shiva Temple on Thursday morning. According to Siddharthanagar Superintendent of Police Prachi Singh, some unidentified miscreants vandalized an ancient Shiva idol in Igata village early morning. She said that an FIR has been lodged and five teams have been formed to nab the accused persons


Navratri, meaning "nine nights", is a vibrant festival celebrated with fervour and devotion across India and among Hindu community worldwide. Chaitra Navratri, specifically observed in the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra (March-April), holds significant cultural and spiritual importance. Lasting for nine days, this festival is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga and her various forms, representing the triumph of good over evil. The festival will begin on April 9, 2024 (Tuesday) and continue till April 17. Chaitra Navratri also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year in many parts of India, especially in North India.

The festival concludes on the ninth day with Ram Navami, the birth anniversary of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Devotees celebrate this day with special prayers, hymns, and offerings, seeking blessings for prosperity, happiness, and spiritual fulfilment.



United States of America: Hinduphobia getting some attention

A prominent Indian-American lawmaker has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning Hinduphobia, and other hate crimes against the community.

The resolution, that Congressman Shri Thanedar introduced on Wednesday, reads that Hindu Americans face stereotypes and disinformation about their heritage and symbols, and have been the targets of bullying in schools and on college campuses, as well as discrimination and hate speech.

The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. This resolution comes as anti-Hindu hate crimes targeting mandirs and persons are annually on the rise while in parallel Hinduphobia in American society is unfortunately rising, the resolution said.

Underlining that the country has welcomed more than four million Hindus from all corners of the world since the 1900s, representing diverse racial, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds, the resolution asserts that the country has greatly benefited from contributions by Hindu Americans in every aspect of the nation’s economy and every industry.



United Nations on persecution of minorities in Pakistan

Expressing dismay at the continuing lack of protection for young women and girls from the minority communities, especially Christians and Hindus, in Pakistan, UN experts have said the country needs to uphold its obligations under the relevant international covenant.

“Christian and Hindu girls remain particularly vulnerable to forced religious conversion, abduction, trafficking, child, early and forced marriage, domestic servitude and sexual violence,” the experts said.

“The exposure of young women and girls belonging to religious minority communities to such heinous human rights violations and the impunity of such crimes can no longer be tolerated or justified,” a statement from the Office of the High Commissioner, United Nations Human Rights, said quoting the experts.

They expressed concern that forced marriages and religious conversions of girls from religious minorities which have been coerced are validated by the courts, often invoking religious law to justify keeping victims with their abductors rather than allowing them to return them to their parents. “Perpetrators often escape accountability, with police dismissing crimes under the guise of ‘love marriages’,” they said.



A historical Hindu temple near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has been demolished and construction for a commercial complex has started at the site in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that was closed since 1947 when the original occupants migrated to India.

The ‘Khyber Temple’ was situated in the border town of Landi Kotal Bazaar in the Khyber district but had been vanishing brick by brick over the years. The construction at the site started about 10-15 days ago.

Officials from various administrative departments either denied they were aware of the existence of the Hindu temple or claimed the construction was happening according to the rules.

Claiming that there was a historical temple in the main Landi Kotal Bazaar, leading tribal journalist Ibrahim Shinwari, hailing from Landi Kotal, said: “The temple was located in the centre of the Landi Kotal bazaar, which was closed in 1947 after the local Hindu families migrated to India.

If the government fails to fulfil its obligations towards religious minorities, all their places of worship and other historical buildings will vanish soon, he said.

Shinwari questioned the claims of the district administration at Khyber and the municipal authorities having no official land record of the temple.



We welcome your feedback and suggestions on our global media report covering Hindu heritage and the challenges faced by Hindus worldwide. Your insights are invaluable in fostering greater understanding and awareness. Please share your thoughts on our email and let us continue this important conversation together.


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