Desecration of murtis is tip of iceberg

Aside from leaders of the victimised group and Mayor Rambachan, I have not heard any other community leaders making any public condemnation of this heinous act of hate. Where are the MPs in the area, where are the Muslim religious leaders, where is the Prime Minister, where is the Leader of the Opposition, where is the leader of COP, where is the IRO? Their absence aids and abets further similar acts.

The hate speech against Hindus historically started with extremist Christians who first attacked Muslims and Hindus; now the Muslims are attacking Hindus, seen as the softest targets.

Islam and Christianity, in particular have demonised Hindus for worshipping differently. Virulent anti-Hindu rhetoric characterises sermons within the safe walls of extremist churches and mosques. This way of looking at religious diversity in Trinidad comes from extremist Christian and Muslim missionaries mainly from the United States and the Middle East. They put on a soft face of peace, love and compassion, specifically packaged for public relations.

These extremists cease to see Hindus as human beings with human rights and dignity, living a meaningful life. They see it as their divine mission to stop anyone worshipping differently from them, through any means possible, and that includes conversion and ultimately genocide. This happened to the Native Indians in North America, the peoples of Africa, and the majority of peoples in countries with a history of Christian and Muslim colonisers.

The desecration of murtis in Trinidad and Tobago is the tip of the iceberg. Religious, political, social, and community leaders need to see this problem, not in terms of their own personal ideologies (these days many of our politicians and lawyers seem to see their duty in terms of narrow religious ideologies) but in terms of a collective good. We can differ on our idea of God and our paths to reach God, but surely in civilised living, some degree of decency and respect is required for doing so.

This is not only a Hindu problem. Tomorrow it is going to be you. Muslim leaders need to publicly condemn what happened at Kolahal Shiva Mandir and take steps to eradicate hate speech within their places of worship.

The criminals who desecrated the murtis need to be brought to justice, to financially compensate the mandir for their losses, and to do community service to atone for their violent acts of hate. This should be cause for shame not for some misguided and unhealthy sense of honour.


"Desecration of murtis is tip of iceberg"

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