A Hindu temple in Mill Park, BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Temple was vandalised on the night of 11 Jan 23. The Victorian police have launched an investigation. Attacks on places of religious worship is a concern for the wider community.
The VCC President and Deputy President have issued a statement.
We have become aware of the vandalism on the evening of 11th January that defaced the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple in Mill Park. We deplore that a peaceful place of religious worship has been targeted in this way. We are especially concerned about the anti-Indian racial graffiti, and the provocative words that threaten the Hindu community.
We affirm our strong belief that communities of any faith tradition should be able to worship in freedom and in safety.
In this fractured world, where suspicion and division can too easily undermine peace and harmony in our community, we absolutely condemn the vandalism, and particularly the threatening nature of the comments that targets and vilifies Indian people and the Hindu community. There is no place in our vibrant multicultural, multifaith and pluralistic society for such behaviour. The majority of Australians believe that respecting religious diversity is fundamental to ensuring a strong social fabric in our democratic society.
The Victorian Council of Churches has a clear anti-racism commitment, and is concerned about any actions that have the potential to exacerbate racial, religious and societal tensions.
The actions of the vandals do not speak for the goodwill of people in the wider community. We hope justice will be served on those responsible for the vandalism, whose actions are in violation of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.
The well-being of our communities is strengthened by our care for one other. We support His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha temple in Mill Hill, in his call for peace, unity and harmony. We also extend the hand of friendship to the Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) and the Hindu community.Dr Graeme Blackman
President, Victorian Council of Churches
Fr Dr Jacob Joseph
Deputy President, Victorian Council of Churches