New Jersey, September 9, 2022: The Coalition of Hindus of North America commended Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL, for his ongoing support of the minority Hindu American community. On September 6th, the congressman entered a memo summarizing the findings of Network Contagion Research Institute’s (NCRI) research on anti-Hindu bigotry into the congressional records.
Referring to the NCRI’s findings, published in July 2022, Rep. Krishnamoorthi outlined the rise in anti-Hindu rhetoric and memes on social media between January 2019 and June 2022. Citing the study, the memo noted that Hinduphobic content “is deployed by fringe web communities and state actors alike.”
The congressman pointed out that most political leaders are unfamiliar with Hinduphobia and acknowledged that this must be addressed for anti-Hindu bigotry to be meaningfully countered. He drew several specific examples from the Rutgers report outlining how Hindus are being dehumanized in online spaces operated by a wide ideological spectrum including white supremacists and Islamists.
“As one of the first formal records of Hinduphobia in the national discourse, the congressman’s memo gives voice to the fears of millions of Hindu Americans, and we thank him sincerely for this effort,” said Nikunj Trivedi, President of CoHNA. “Memes like the ‘happy merchant’ and accusations of disloyalty echo antisemitic rhetoric that has haunted our country, and per the report, foreshadow real world violence against Hindus. We see this real world violence is actively underway in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh where micro-minority Hindu communities are being driven to the brink of extinction.”
This report came out less than two months before a spate of anti-Hindu attacks in New York and California in August 2022. More chillingly, these attacks may have been committed by members of the wider Indian diaspora, showing that the violence cannot simply be reduced to racially-motivated bigotry. Blanketing Hinduphobia under more familiar racial terms can confound the motives behind anti-Hindu sentiments and Rep. Krishnamoorthi rightly calls on congressional leadership to study the phenomena as a unique form of bigotry.
CoHNA asks all lawmakers, law enforcement personnel, DEI practitioners and interfaith community leaders to read the report and understand how Hinduphobia works, since it is largely understudied, dismissed, and often even denied in the public sphere. Read the top five takeaways from the NCRI/Rutgers Hinduphobia report here.