Distinguishing the Swastika from the Hakenkreuz
If you’re going to fix something, fix it properly. That’s the message that the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) is expressing after the California State Assembly passed Bill AB2282, titled “Hate crimes: nooses, crosses, and swastikas,” whose purpose is to criminalize the display of hate symbols.
When the bill was first introduced in February by Assembly Members Rebecca Baurer-Kahan and Marc Levine, it made it a crime to display signs of hate, including the “Nazi Swastika.”
After Hindu groups called for the proposed legislation to differentiate between the Nazi symbol of hate and the Hindu holy symbol, the bill was amended to say, “It is the intent of the Legislature to criminalise the placement or display of the Nazi Hakenkreuz (hooked cross), also known as the Nazi swastika, that was the official emblem of the Nazi party, for the purpose of terrorising a person. This legislation is not intended to criminalize the placement or display of the ancient swastika symbols that are associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and are symbols of peace.”
But CoHNA believes that the bill still perpetuates confusion between the two symbols. “In spite of claims that the bill has decriminalized Swastika, the amended language continues to use the word ‘Nazi Swastika,’” CoHNA president Nikunj Trivedi said.
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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