Ontario, Canada, March 2, 2022. The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) thanked Honorable Member of Parliament Mr. Chandra Arya for clearly expressing his concerns regarding efforts to declare the Swastika as a symbol of hatred in Canada. On February 28th, MP Arya, who is a Hindu, gave a moving statement in the parliament on behalf of the Canadian Hindu community and urged his colleagues and all Canadians to distinguish between the sacred symbol of Swastika and the Nazi symbol of hatred - referred to as Hakenkreuz (German for “Hooked Cross”).
“The ancient and greatly auspicious symbol of the Hindu religion continues to be used today at our Hindu temples, in our religious and cultural rituals, entrance to our homes and in our daily life. Please stop calling the Nazi symbol of hatred as Swastika,” declared Mr. Arya.
He also emphasized that Hindus support condemnation of the Nazi symbol of hatred (Hakenkreuz or Hooked Cross), but that referring to the symbol as “Swastika” denies Hindu Canadians their basic religious freedom and prevents them from using their sacred symbol.
In another important step, MP Arya distributed CoHNA’s Swastika brochure to all Canadian Members of Parliament and Senators in order to educate them on the history and the importance of the Swastika as well as Hitler’s Hooked Cross.
“We thank MP Arya for taking a firm stand on this extremely important matter for over half a million Canadian Hindus and close to two billion Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and others for whom the Swastika and its equivalents are deeply sacred and auspicious,” remarked Nikunj Trivedi, president of CoHNA. “Since 2020, our Swastika Education and Awareness Campaign has partnered with Buddhists, Jain, Jewish and indigenous groups to ensure a better understanding and mutual respect around this ancient and sacred symbol.”
As part of these efforts, CoHNA recently organized an interfaith dialogue with Jewish, Buddhist, Jain and Hindu leaders to highlight multiple perspectives on the topic and discuss ways to move forward.
Over the past two years, CoHNA has collaborated with several other organizations, to educate and ensure that the Swastika is not declared as a symbol of hatred in schools and in general public spaces as initially proposed by bills in U.S. states like New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. CoHNA now has a similar campaign underway in Canada and is working actively with many local organizations and activists to spread awareness around the Swastika while also being mindful of the genocide and trauma faced by the Jewish, Roma and other communities at the hands of Nazis and the continued peddling of hatred even today.
CoHNA and many of its partners support banning the Nazi symbol (Hakenkreuz or Hooked Cross) and its usage for peddling hatred and intolerance against various communities.
For more information and resources about the Swastika, please visit https://cohna.org/swastika.