The World Hindu Council of America (VHPA), condemns the brutal murder of Sunando Sen, a 46-year-old Hindu, who was pushed in front of an oncoming subway train in Queens, New York last week. The murderer, Erika Menendez, selected her victim because she believed him to “be a Muslim”, Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said.
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Washington DC
Monday, December 31, 2012
In a statement released by the district attorney.s office, Mr. Brown quoted Ms. Menendez, “in sum and substance”, as having told the police: “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001, when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up”, Menendez, it seems, was ignorant about the identity of Sunando Sen, and the difference between the Hindu and Muslim religions, and the events surrounding 9/11.
This however, is not an isolated incident. In the past, many Hindus and Sikhs have been conflated with Muslims, and victimized in revenge for terror attacks perpetrated by Islamists. Ironically, Hindus have been historically one of the primary targets of Islamic fundamentalists, for hate crimes around the world. Therefore, a better understanding of Hindu religion, its heritage, both historical and sociological, is critical to the removal of prejudices, misconceptions and biases. Such an understanding and awareness will go a long way in prevention of hate-crimes against all communities.
The World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) looks forward to working with New York City, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in developing educational initiatives, which would create a better understanding of Hindu heritage in the social discourse. We demand that immediate steps be taken to create a separate category for .anti-Hindu. hate crimes, so that incidents are categorized and prevented in the future.
On behalf of the Hindu communities around the world, we express our deepest sympathies and express our support to the family and friends of Sunando Sen.