[This post was written by Ron Banerjee in response to Emma Teitel’s article, ‘Opposing prayer in Toronto public schools, with dignity’]
The Canadian Hindu community has been, and continues to be, victimized by violence and hatred. As representatives of Canadian Hindus, the Canadian Hindu Advocacy is now being subjected to attacks and innuendos, often from biased media.
In the controversy over Valley Park School, terrified Hindu parents had contacted us to complain about Islamic students disrupting classes every week by having imams lead prayers in the cafeteria. They felt that the TDSB was so thoroughly infected with Islamist sympathies that they would suffer consequences for speaking up.
Recently, CHA was approached by a reporter who arrived half an hour before our planned picket and demanded to know on camera where ‘all the Hindus are’. His goal was to discredit the Canadian Hindu Advocacy, despite the known fact that we are a large national group which has published over 100 op-eds and letters to the editor in the National Post, Financial Post, and Toronto Sun over the last few years. All are freely available on our website in our ‘Media’ section.
You cannot get much more mainstream than that. In the current controversy, some fringe Hindu groups are trying to score cheap publicity by attacking our noble organization, or taking contrary views to stoke conflict.
These groups should be aware that we exist to counter hate and oppression, mostly from Sikh and Muslim fundamentalists, that Hindus have suffered from in Canada.
They should note that over 330 mostly Hindus were slaughtered by suspected Sikh Khalistan fundamentalists in the Air India tragedy, while Canadian authorities bungled the investigation, treated victims with contempt, and recently offered a financial package which victim families termed as ‘an insult’.
They should also note that after 9/11, the only religious structure destroyed in Canada was a Hindu temple in Hamilton. When the temple asked the McGuinty government for financial assistance to rebuild, they were told governments cannot fund religious establishments.
The ‘Scamgate’ scandal revealed this same government handed over millions in grants to religious groups, including a dozen Muslim groups and a Sikh temple whose posters celebrate the suspects in the Air India bombing.
These incidents happened because Hindus had no effective clout, while Muslims and Sikhs ran roughshod over Hindu rights with the connivance of Canadian governments and authorities.
Muslims are now twisting the meaning of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to their benefit again. A reasonable solution would have been for Islamic students to pack bag lunches and traipse to the nearby mosque during their hour-long lunch break. Disrupting classes harms everyone and benefits none.
Hindu and other non Muslim students are adversely affected by 400 Muslims marching in and out of class, while Muslims miss an hour of instruction every week.
Canadian Hindu temples and groups have proven themselves unable or unwilling to protect Hindu lives, rights, or property. The Canadian Hindu Advocacy was formed to address this, and our national advocacy shall continue to provide real leadership to our oppressed community, which is by far the most victimized in Canada.
We have formed a multi faith coalition with the Christian Heritage Party and Jewish Defence League of Canada. We will work to restore Canadian values of democracy and freedom, which are themselves a combination of both Hindu and Judeo Christian principles.
Ron Banerjee is a director with the Canadian Hindu Advocacy