Hindus worldwide are highly concerned regarding reports of vandalizing three times in June of Shree Ram Mandir in Walsall (West Midlands, England), about nine miles from Birmingham.
Reports suggest that custom-made statues outside the temple were damaged, sending the area Hindu community in a state of anguish, which now feels targeted. There were also reports of burglary at Shree Swaminarayan Temple Willesden in Greater London in November last, resulting in theft of sacred Hindu idols.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was shocking for the worldwide Hindus to hear about such incidents happening to a Hindu house of worship; thus reportedly causing heartbreak to the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful area Hindu community by receiving such signals of hatred and intimidation. British Hindus had made lot of contributions to the nation and society and continued to do so; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Zed urged United Kingdom Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire; West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor Andy Street and Walsall Mayor Paul Bott to take this issue seriously and urgently and launch swift action to put an end to such crimes and make sure that such incidents did not happen in the future.
Adequate security measures should be in place to protect the British Hindu population and Hindu temples in United Kingdom; and Brokenshire, Street and Bott should immediately visit the vandalized temple and meet the Hindu community in Sandwell-Walsall-Wolverhampton area to reassure them; Rajan Zed indicated and added that this clearly was an attack on religious freedom of which United Kingdom was very proud of.
Zed further said that as an interfaith gesture; Church of England Birmingham Bishop David Urquhart, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley and area leaders of other religions should strongly condemn this vandalizing act at a place of worship and also visit the affected temple to show their solidarity with the reportedly dismayed Hindus.
According to reports, awards-winning registered-charity Shree Ram Mandir Walsall (also known as Shree Gujerati Hindu Social & Cultural Centre), besides worship services, also celebrates various Hindu festivals, organizes classes promoting Hindu/Indian culture-arts-languages-dances-heritage, runs senior-women-youth-toddler groups, acts as a community activities center, etc. Its objects include advancement of Hindu religion, social welfare, providing relief for the victims of natural and other disasters, etc. Its Mission includes: “To advance the understanding of the Hindu religion, raise awareness of its values and culture”. Murtis of various popular Hindu deities are installed in it. Two aartis are performed here daily and Hindu weddings are held here. It celebrated Ram-Navami and Hanuman-Jayanti in April. Patel is the last name of 20 of its trustees out of total 27. Shree Sharadbhai Bhatt is the priest.
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