A Hindu organization in Canada is speaking out against the offensive use of the swastika symbol across the continent of North America by launching the "Reclaim Swastika" campaign.
Since the terror attacks by Hamas on Israel on October 7, Canada has seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, prompting authorities to crack down on the Nazi "swastika" symbol, which has been condemned by world leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Canadian Prime Minister recently said, "When we see or hear hateful language and imagery, we must condemn it. The display of a swastika by an individual on Parliament Hill is unacceptable.”
Canadians for Hindu Heritage Education responded to his comments by launching a campaign called Reclaim Swastika, which argues that the swastika should not be equated with the Nazi hate symbol. In a letter to authorities, the group requested that the Nazi symbol be recognized as the Hakenkruez, or Hooked Cross, rather than the swastika, a sacred symbol and word for the Hindu, Jain, and other communities.
“We, the undersigned, request Toronto Police Boards and all Police Boards in Canada to remove references to the word Swastika as a hate symbol from your website under hate-motivated-crime,” the letter reads.
“Swastika word in Sanskrit means auspiciousness and well-being of all. Swastika word and Swastika symbol is very sacred and used extensively during worshipping rituals in our temples, homes, and businesses. Kindly remove all references to the word Swastika when the intent is antisemitism, hate, bigotry, threat, and genocidal call. Please replace that word with Hakenkreuz or hooked cross,” the organization requested.
In 2022, India flagged concerns to Ottawa on behalf of the Indo-Canadian community over a bill that sought to ban the display of swastika. National Democratic Party member Peter Julian introduced the legislation with the backing of party leader Jagmeet Singh. “Swastikas and confederate flags should have no place in Canada. We have a responsibility to make our communities safe for everyone — it's time to ban hate symbols in Canada. Together, we can make sure hate is given no space to take hold and no air to breathe,” said Singh.