Taskforce Requested After Vandalism Hate Crimes
The request came as a response to two incidents of vandalism against Hindu Temples in February this year. On March 5, Washington Governor Jay Inslee convened with Hindu community leaders who urged Inslee to establish a task force to mitigate the situation and prevent future attacks.
“I condemn these acts of intolerance, intimidation and violence. Diversity is a cornerstone of our state. It is what makes this such a great place to live, work and grow a family. I want to let all of those affected by the recent crimes know that Washington stands with you.”
President of Universal Society of Hinduism Rajan Zed commended Inslee for meeting with Hindu leaders but also expressed concern for the acts of xenophobia.
Zed suggested that this task force should include administration officials, law enforcement, school district superintendents, community leaders and academia. The purpose of such a task force, as defined by Zed, is to foster greater awareness between communities and encourage cultural literacy in order to stamp out hate crimes.
Zed viewed this as possible through education of cultural diversity and equity in public and private schools
By creating broader awareness, hate crimes can be identified more efficiently and through procedural training, law enforcement would be better equipped to deal with hate crimes like in Bothell and Kent.
On February 15, graffiti of a swastika and letters spelling out “Get Out” were discovered on an outside wall at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell. Two weeks later, windows were broken and the word “Fear” written on a wall at Sanatan Dharma Temple in Kent.
The two temples lie 34 miles from each other.