On Thursday, Swami Harish Chander Puri, a 62-year-old Hindu priest, was attacked near his temple in Queens, NY.
Now, as details of the case have been revealed, people are calling for this attack to be investigated as a hate crime.
Puri was wearing the clothing befitting a Hindu priest when a man attacked him from behind while screaming "this my neighborhood!"
52-year-old Sergio Gouveia was arrested in connection with the attack. Gouveia was charged with assault, harassment, and criminal possession of a weapon.
Puri was hospitalized with cuts and bruises to his head, nose, chest, arms, and legs.
“This type of brutal act is un-American, and the person who committed this heinous crime is a coward,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, D-Queens. “People from across the globe call Queens home, and we are proud to embrace this rich diversity that exists in our communities and neighborhoods.”
Religiously motivated harassment, vandalism, and attacks have seen a rise in recent years, according to some studies. This trend is something that many lay the blame for on Donald Trump and his hateful rhetoric.
Whether Donald Trump is really a driving force behind increasing violence against minority religious groups or not, the question becomes how to turn this trend around. I may be a vocal critic of religion, but these kinds of attacks are pointless. They do nothing but further the toxic divides we have in the current political and social quagmire we find ourselves in. We need to be able to have proactive, constructive conversations, and until we do, we will continue to struggle to find common ground and solve our joint problems.