Temple Vandalism Causes 'Pain And Anguish' For Hindu Community
A Hindu group from Sydney's west are appealing to the public for funds to help rebuild their temple after it was destroyed by vandals.
When worshippers arrived at the Barathiye Mandir Temple in Regents Park on Sunday, flames were coming through the window -- the temple was on fire.
More than 30 statues and other religious articles were destroyed in the deliberate attack. Furniture, images and temple decorations were strewn across the floor. The room was also covered in paint and the word "Jesus" was written on one of the walls.
National President of the Hindu Council of Australia, Prakash Mehta, said the destruction of the temple was particularly hurtful as it occurred during a sacred time in the Hindu calendar.
"Hindu Council of Australia expresses its pain on learning of the vandalism that occurred at the Hindu Temple in Regents Park," Mehta said in a statement.
"Unfortunately it happened in the most holy period of Navaratri in Hindu calendar. The vandalism has caused lot of pain and anguish to the devotees."
Navaratri is a Hindu festival of nine nights dedicated to worship God in a female form.
Members of the temple community are now appealing to the public for financial support so they can rebuild their place of worship.
"The financial cost of replacing the deities and rebuild temple will be in many thousands of dollars, but the emotional cost will be much higher," Mehta said.
The temple has been in Regents Park for 20 years. A decade ago there was an incident of stone throwing, but until now the community hasn't experienced other vandalism attacks.
As prayers from the Navaratri festival are intended to be done as a community, the kitchen in the building next to the temple has been vacated and turned into a makeshift prayer space so worshippers can pray on the most important days of the festival.
NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams, condemned the vandalism as an attack on Australian culture.
"The NSW Government will not tolerate the desecration of items of cultural and religious significance, which threaten the cohesion of our multicultural communities," Williams said in a statement.
For the Hindu community at Regents Park, the future is about rebuilding their home of worship and ensuring acts like this do not occur again.
"Let's make sure it never happens again," a statement from the Hindu Council of Australia read.
"Let's keep Australia fair."
Police continue to search for the perpetrators of the incident.
Featured Image: Twitter/ Sushil Sancheti.
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