Lawmakers condemn vandalism of California Hindu temple thought to be hate crime

Lawmakers condemn vandalism of California Hindu temple thought to be hate crime

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Lawmakers are condemning a recent defacement of a Hindu temple in Newark, Calif., that local authorities are looking into as a possible hate crime.

Authorities are investigating the vandalizing of the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple with graffiti as a possible hate crime, according to a report from The Mercury News. The defacing of the temple was found Friday morning.

“I unequivocally condemn this attack on Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple in California. Hatred in all forms cannot be tolerated,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday. “Those responsible must be held accountable.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) joined Lee in condemning the defacing in a post as well.

“The defacing of the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, CA is despicable, and I strongly condemn it,” Krishnamoorthi said in his X post. “I’m glad the community is rallying to the support of the mandir. We must stand united against bigotry in all its ugly forms. Those who did this vandalism must be held accountable.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) also said he condemned the defacing of the temple, which he said is in his district.

“Freedom to worship is at the heart of American democracy,” Khanna said in a post on X. “Those who committed this act of vandalism must be held accountable.”

“As the founder of the Congressional Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain Caucus, I express my profound condemnation of the disgraceful act of vandalism committed against the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Newark, California,” Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.) said in a statement posted to X. “This desecration, marked by anti-India graffiti, strikes at the very essence of our diverse and inclusive society.”

The Newark Police Department said that the temple’s defacement seems to be targeted, according to The Mercury News.

“Any acts or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation, or other crimes motivated by hate or bias are considered very serious and given very high priority,” the Newark  Police Department said in a news release, according to The Mercury News. “Officers are investigating, collecting evidence, and reviewing surveillance footage from nearby businesses in order to establish the chain of events and bring those responsible to justice.”

The Hill has reached out to the Newark Police Department.

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