19th Mar 2018

Hindus oppose German plan for EU swastika ban

Hindus across Europe are joining forces to stop a German-led move to put an EU-wide ban on the Swastika – a 5,000 year-old religious Hindu sign but now more known for being the symbol of the Nazis.

Hindus in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK plan to visit each EU capital, the European Commission and members of the European Parliament to gather support to defy the German move, according to press reports.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

German justice minister Brigitte Zypries earlier this month called for a Europe-wide initiative to tackle right-wing extremism to be put in place and plans to push ahead with the idea using her country's current presidency of the EU.

The initiative could lead to common laws across the bloc making it a crime to deny genocide and display Nazi symbols.

Since its adoption by the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler, the swastika has been associated with fascism, racism, and the Holocaust in the western world. It is banned in Germany.

Meanwhile, the swastika also remains a symbol of some current Neo-Nazi groups, with the German government - alarmed by a rise in far-right crime at home - now pressing to harmonize the rules for punishing offenders across the EU.

"That's not the fault of the Hindus," said Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), according to AFP. "The Nazi Party started using a Hindu symbol and abused it."

In Hindu tradition, it is one of the religion's most sacred symbols of peace.

"It is almost like saying that the Klu Klux Klan used burning crosses to terrorize black men, so therefore let us ban the cross. How does that sound to you?" questioned Mr Kallidai, according to Reuters.

The forum is writing letters to European commissioners and MEPs to explain that the swastika predates Nazi use by thousands of years.

"We've been using it for peaceful purposes, completely unrelated to the use that the Nazi Party put it to," Mr Kallidai stated.

He said a possible ban on swastikas would be an abuse of human rights: "Hindu ceremonies are never concluded without the swastika, so it's actually discrimination against Hindus, an abuse of human rights."

Laws against denying the holocaust exist in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain.

"Every time we see a swastika symbol in a Jewish cemetery, that of course must be condemned. But when the symbol is used in a Hindu wedding, people should learn to respect that," he said.

German call for EU initiative against right-wing extremism

German justice minister Brigitte Zypries has called for a Europe-wide initiative to tackle right-wing extremism to be put in place and plans to push ahead with the idea using her country's current presidency of the EU.

German Holocaust ban idea meeting resistance

EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini has spoken in favour of a German proposal to criminalise denial of the Holocaust across the 27-member bloc - but the fiercest resistance against such a move comes from Frattini's own country, Italy.

Germany in u-turn on EU swastika ban

Germany has made a u-turn on its plan to criminalise Nazi insignia – such as the Swastika – across the European Union, and will leave it up to the 27 member states whether to punish people who deny the Holocaust.


Brexit and trade will top This WEEK

A crucial EU summit will decide whether to give a green light to the Brexit transition period, while the EU is also fighting to get exemptions from the new US steel and aluminium tariffs.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant

Niger has temporarily stopped all evacuations from Libya detention centres under an EU funded programme because so few are being resettled to Europe. Many of those that have been evacuated are pregnant, with some asking for HIV testing.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere