After an Averted Tragedy, Dallas-Fort Worth Seminar Brings Community Together

Frisco, TX (May 15, 2018) — This past Saturday the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco, Texas held a seminar at which law enforcement officials met with community leaders to build relationships between police agencies and houses of worship across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Representatives from more than a dozen Hindu temples attended the event, learning safety tips and techniques from police, as well as hearing more details about the recent plot by to attack either a Hindu temple or shopping mall, by a now-apprehended teenager allegedly inspired by ISIS.

Key officials who attended included: Collin County Judge Keith Self; Irving Chief of Police Jeff Spivey; City of Frisco Chief of Police John Bruce; City of Frisco Assistant Chief of Police Darren Stevens; and Collin County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Kelley Stone.

The event was organized by Neel Gonuguntla, President, US India Chamber of Commerce - DFW, Laxmi Tummala, a Trustee of Frisco’s Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple, and AK Mago, the Founding Chairman of the US India Chamber of Commerce - DFW.

Neel Gonuguntla, President, US India Chamber of Commerce - DFW remarked:

"We are so grateful for the incredible men and women in law enforcement who keep us safe every day and we are especially grateful for our County Judge, Keith Self, Chiefs of Police, John Bruce and Jeff Spivey, Assistant Chief Darren Stevens and Deputy Chief Stone, who not only provided candid insight into the recent incident that occurred, but also committed their time, teams, resources and ideas to helping the community think through security issues and address them. We are very appreciative of their willingness to help. Now it is for the Hindu community and other communities of faith to assume the mantle and work with our law enforcement agencies to keep devotees, individual temples, and other institutions safe."

Jay Kansara, Director of Government Relations at the Hindu American Foundation (at right in photo above), spoke on the importance of individual rights, hate crimes reporting, as well as practical tips on protecting houses of worship. Kansara stated:

“We are grateful that federal and local law enforcement agents caught this would-be perpetrator, preventing a terrorist attack that could’ve taken innumerable lives. It is imperative for Hindu temple administrators to be vigilant and protect the people coming to their places of worship. HAF has detailed basic initial steps that all temples can take in its revamped Temple Safety and Security Guide, which describes a dynamic process that requires constant review and continuous engagement with local and federal law enforcement agents. Together we can keep our communities and neighborhoods safe.”

The event concluded with all attendees representing local temples pledging to form a council to share information and disseminate advisories to keep houses of worship and the broader Hindu American community safe.

For more information about HAF’s work, please see the following resources:

Know Your Rights
Temple Safety and Security Guide