California sees rise in Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu violence 

Friday, 07 Jun, 2024

New York: Over the past year, California has seen a sharp rise in Hinduphobia and hate crimes motivated by anti-Hindu sentiment. 

The report, released by the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) on May 20, is based upon information from the yearlong California vs Hate campaign.  

The data shows that Hinduphobia was the second-most reported form of religion-based hatred in California, with anti-Semitism being the most reported, and Islamophobia being the third-most reported. “Anti-Jewish (36.9%), anti-Hindu (23.3%) and anti-Muslim (14.6%) were the most cited reasons for reports related to religious targeting,” said the report. 

The data showed that there were 1,020 actual reports of hate based on the information provided by the individual reporting the incident. Out of that number, four out of six people who reached out agreed to follow up for care coordination services such as direct and ongoing support to access legal aid of counseling. In addition, “Nearly 80% of California’s counties were represented, including all 10 of the state’s most populated counties”. Out of the 1,020 reported incidents, 560 have since been verified. 

For that subset, the most cited bias motivations were race and ethnicity (35.1%), gender identity (15.1%), and sexual orientation (10.8%). However, the report does specify an exact percentage of incidents motivated by hatred towards a certain religion. The most common reasons for the reports were discriminatory treatment (18.4%), verbal harassment (16.7%), and derogatory names and slurs (16.7%). The most common locations where such incidents occurred were residential (29.9%), workplace (9.7%), and public facilities (9.1%). 

Recent desecration and vandalism of temples, and the harassment and intimidation of Hindus in the San Francisco Bay Area by extremists have been reported in the media.  

The spike in Hinduphobic hate crimes parallels the data from the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, which reported 22 hate crimes against Hindus in 2022. However, critics argue that most hate crimes are generally under-reported due to multiple reasons, such as voluntary law enforcement, as well as the high burden of proof needed to charge hate crimes. 

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