Washington — A sudden spurt of anti-Hindu hate crimes and vandalism incidents in a suburb of Virginia have led to local officials there posting a $21,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible.
According to authorities in Loudoun County, Va., since July 2014, there have been 17 reported instances of anti-Hindu graffiti and vandalism occurring in Ashburn, Va., and the area near Dulles International Airport.
The county over the past few years has seen a significant rise in its Indian American population.
“A majority of the graffiti has been written in black marker on exercise stations, park benches, a pedestrian tunnel and community signs,” according to Loudoun County police. The graffiti read, “No Hindus allowed” and “No Hindus, by order of Mosby’s Rangers.”
“I’ve been in this country for 14 years, and never once have I seen something like this, or been exposed to something like this,” Indian American county resident Vidya Nair told the Washington Post. “Loudoun is so diverse. You don’t expect to see it here.”
“It is very disturbing that there are individuals who are willing to destroy private property and spew hate against our Hindu neighbors,” said Lebanon-born Virginia House of Delegates member David Ramadan.
At a meeting with about 200 Indian Americans at a local community center, he added, “There is no room for such hate in our community.”
“I was extremely encouraged by the community response to this event,” said Virginia attorney Jim Plowman. “With continued citizen involvement, I’m confident we’ll be able to put an end to these hateful acts and to see this to a just conclusion.”
The Brambleton Community Association in Brambleton, Va., offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible. Loudoun County officials and several leaders in the Indian American community stepped up at the meeting with an additional $20,000, increasing the total reward to $21,000.