Where We Stand

From issues of religious accommodation and religious discrimination to defending fundamental constitutional rights such as equal protection and due process domestically, and religious freedom and human rights globally, HAF has stood up for the rights of Hindus and other communities. Where We Stand offers a just a glimpse into our perspectives and advocacy record on a range of issues.

Bullying Prevention and Education Reform | Caste Discrimination | Environment | Gun Safety Reform | Hate Crimes | Immigration | India International Religious Freedom and Human Rights  | LGBT Rights | Religious Liberty | Women’s Rights

Bullying Prevention and Education Reform

Advocacy

Coalition of Academics, Interfaith and Civil Rights Groups, and Elected Officials Celebrating Accuracy and Cultural Proficiency In California K-12 Textbooks
Partnering With Beyond Differences for National Know Your Classmates Day
Partnering with White House and National Asian American Groups to Combat Bullying

Perspectives

Seeking Change in How Hinduism and Ancient India are Taught in California: A Glimpse into HAF’s Efforts

Resources

Classroom Subjected: Bullying and Bias Against Hindu Students in American Schools

Caste Discrimination

Caste-based discrimination is a serious social problem across every religious community in India and throughout South Asia. It is outlawed in India and other countries in South Asia. Caste-based discrimination is in direct violation of the most profound and fundamental Hindu teachings about Divinity being manifest equally in every being.

We acknowledge the efforts of countless Hindu spiritual leaders, community based organizations, and individuals who have worked and continue to work tirelessly towards eliminating these dehumanizing attitudes and behaviors, and empowering those who have been adversely impacted.

We condemn all forms of caste-based discrimination and support holistic, community based solutions which incorporate education, upliftment, and empowerment.

Advocacy

Supporting Indian Parliamentarian and Dalit Leaders Standing Against Caste-Based Discrimination

Resources

Landmark Report: Hinduism Not Cast in Caste, Seeking an End to Caste-based Discrimination in India

Environment

Hindu teachings repeatedly assert that all of manifest existence, all of the world around us, is Divine and deserving of our respect, worship, and protection. This outlook is a holistic, interconnected view of the relationship between humanity and all of nature. A broad application of the Hindu ethical principles espoused in the yamas (how one should interact with others and the world) and niyamas (how one should interact with oneself through spiritual disciplines and restraints) provides a strong dictate and basis for ecological conservation and protection of all species.

We supports policies which promote the ethical treatment of animals and ecological conservation.

Advocacy

Committing to Sustainable Living Commitment with Vegan Food Pledge
Opposing Rollback of US Climate, Clean Energy Policy
Supporting of Hindu Declaration on Climate Change
Hindu Environment Week Draws Thousands to Honor Matru Bhumi

Perspectives

Mother Bhumi - Hinduism and Creation

Resources

Hinduism and the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Gun Safety Reform

Advocacy

Sharing Perspectives with Vice President as Nation Grapples with Reducing Gun Violence
Urging Congress to Pass Common Sense Gun Safety Reform

Perspectives

Congress Must Act for Welfare of Americans: Enact Common Sense Gun Legislation
HAF Mourns Loss of Three Student Lives at Chapel Hill

Resources

Gun Control, Balancing Ahimsa and Self-Defense

Hate Crimes

Anti-Hindu hatred or Hinduphobia is the irrational fear of, hostility to, discrimination against, or hatred towards Hindus and Hinduism. Both have a tragically long history which continues to this day across the globe. Hindu Americans are not exempt from attacks based on their religion and culture.

We condemn hatred, violence, and discrimination against all communities. We request your help in tracking incidents of identity-based and bias-motivated intimidation, harassment, and violence in our communities by requesting you to fill out the Anti-Hindu Hate and Hinduphobia Incident Form, if you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed an incident.

Advocacy

Supporting Proposed Senate Legislation Protecting Religious Institutions
Meeting with Kansas Governor and Lt. Governor After Hate Killing of Srinvas Kuchibotla
Calling on FBI to Add Anti-Hindu Hate Crime Category
Calling for Justice after Deadly Attacks on Sikh Americans
Calling for Justice in California Mosque Attack
Demanding Shutting Down of Offensive, Anti-Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism Groups on Facebook
Calling Out Harassment of Hindu Leader in Russia
Urging Peace and Justice for All Victims in Myanmar
Opposing Ruling in Malaysia Conversion Case and Demanding Intervention by Government
Calling Out Destruction of Hindu and Buddhist Artifacts in Maldives
Speaking Up for Human Rights to Kazakhstan Hindu Leaders
Fijian Ambassador’s Response to HAF’s Human Rights Report

Perspectives

Five Years After Oak Creek Gurdwara Attack, Hate Crimes Still Plague America
Church Attack in Charleston Leaves Hindu Americans Heartbroken

Resources

Know Your Rights and Other Legal Community Resources
Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry Against Hindus

Immigration

The United States is a nation of immigrants. That is as true today as it has been throughout this nation’s history.

We support a fair and transparent immigration system, without country cap quotas, that ensures immigrant workers have a fair chance at securing a green card needed for career mobility or to establish a business in the United States, and that respects the value of family unification and provides a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants and immigrants with temporary status.

Advocacy

Supporting Congressional Letter to Urge Trump Admin to Let Immigrant Spouses Keep Working
Calling on US Congress for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Opposing Immigration Executive Order: Religion and Ethnic Bars are Unconstitutional
Supporting Bhutanese Refugee Resettlement Needs on Capitol Hill
Supporting Changes to US Religious Worker Visa Program

Perspectives

Congress, Leave No H1Bs Behind
From the Hill: Religious Worker Visas — An Immigration Issue Both Sides Can Support

Resources

Immigration Reform Priorities, 2018

India

We advocate for Hindus here in America and around the world because we believe that where the well-being of Hindus is secure, the well-being of all people and the planet is secure. While the Hindu diaspora has reached every continent, India remains very special and significant. India is a sacred geography and spiritual homeland for Hindus, including those living in India, those of Indian origin and generations removed, and those who have come to discover and embrace Hindu traditions, teachings, and practices as a result of their own spiritual quest.

We support policies that strengthen India’s legacy of pluralism and religious freedom, as well as strong US-India relationship, for the promotion of democracy, security, and stability in the greater South Asia region.

Advocacy

Supporting Long Awaited Justice for 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots in Conviction of Sajjan Kumar
Highlighting Murder of Hindu Monks Exposing Other Side of ‘Cow Vigilantism'
Hosting India, Democracy in Diversity Briefing on Capitol Hill
Calling Out Attack on Hindu Pilgrims at Amarnath
US Religious Freedom Commission Continues Association with Terrorist Sympathizer
Calling for Justice for Kashmiri Pandits on Human Rights Day
Calling for Justice for Muslim Man Lynched in India
Opposing Anti-Hindu Resolution in the US Congress

Perspectives

US Religious Freedom Commission Outsources Its Credibility with Attack on Hinduism and India

Resources

India: Democracy in Diversity
HAF Written Statement for the Record: “American Generosity in India: Government Obstacles”
History of the Kashmir Conflict
Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir Policy Brief: 2011-2012
1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom: The Need for Justice
Land of the Pure: The Khalistan Movement in India

International Religious Freedom and Human Rights

A pluralistic freedom of thought and worship must be the foundation of any modern society and nation. Hindu teachings acknowledge and accept that there are multiple paths to, perspectives on, and ways to worship. In the famous passage from the Rig Veda, the tradition’s oldest sacred text, it states, (in paraphrase) “The Truth is one, the wise call It by many names.” Such religious or spiritual freedom must be based, however, on mutual respect.

Based on this fundamental Hindu teaching regarding religious freedom and pluralism, We support international religious freedom in terms of what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes as “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance;” and as what it has failed to include, as the right to retain one's tradition and be free from religious intrusion, harassment, intimidation, and exploitative and predatory proselytization.

Advocacy

 

Perspectives

 

Resources

 

LGBT Rights

The equal religio-spiritual potential of all individuals is key to understanding a Hindu basis for dignity for LGBT persons. Hindu teachings hold that every being is an eternal soul enveloped in form or a body. This soul is distinct from one's physical body and personality (ego), as well as outer attributes such as race, caste, gender, and sexual orientation. Every being may strive towards and attain moksha by transcending selfishness, and material desires and impulses, including sexual ones.

We hold that fundamental Hindu teachings may allow Hindus to more openly embrace LGBT rights and marriage equality, and that the government should not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or identity.

Advocacy

Welcoming Decriminalizing Same-Sex Intercourse, Indian Law Catches Up With Indian Culture
Urging Indian Supreme Court to Strike Down Outdated Section 377
Welcoming Supreme Court’s Affirmation of National Marriage Equality

Perspectives

Huffington Post: Uganda's Anti-Gay Law And America's Right Hand
Casualties of the Culture War: Why Evangelical Zeal to Criminalize Homosexuality is Hurting Their Own Cause

Resources

Hindu Teachings Inclusive of LGBT People

 

Religious Liberty

Religious liberty is guaranteed by the US Constitution and provides a two-fold promise: the right to religious belief and expression, and the guarantee that the state will not prefer religion over non-religion nor favor particular religions above others. Nonetheless, under the guise of religious liberty, some have sought to use the state apparatus to curry favor or privilege their religion over others. This erodes the foundation of freedom and democracy.

We hold that religion and state are healthiest at a distance, acknowledging one another’s positive roles in society and in the daily lives of people, but independent of one another. As such, HAF supports the separation of church and state at all levels, and the right of every individual and community to religious belief and expression.

Advocacy

Supporting Legislation Safeguarding Civil Rights Act Protections from Religious Exemptions
Opposing Texas Senate Effort to Carve Out Religious Exemption to Deny Services to LGBT
Opposing State Sponsored Christian Licence Plate in South Carolina
Supporting Wiccan Priestess’ Right to Lead Legislative Prayer

Perspectives

Lord Hanuman and the Ten Commandments on State Grounds: What's a State to Do?
The Verdict is In: Yoga a.k.a. Asana is Cool in School

Resources

Religious Displays in Public Spaces are Unconstitutional
Prayer in Public Schools is Unconstitutional
Yoga In Public Schools Unconstitutional, But Yoga-based Programs Okay

Women’s Rights

Hindus understand the Divine to be both masculine and feminine, as well as neither. Divine energy is worshiped as the Goddess(es) and is seen to be complementary and not in competition with divine masculine powers which manifest as God(s). That there has been and remains a disconnect between teachings of equality and respect for women and Goddess worship, and examples of discriminatory treatment of women in societies across the globe is unfortunate and must be countered.

We believe that we have a responsibility to ensure the dignity and equality of all women and men, and support culturally grounded means for freedom, empowerment, and opportunity regardless of background.

Resources

Shakti Initiative