Tuesday

22nd Aug 2017

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 and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

'Killer robots' are not about Terminator

A European signatory of an open letter about autonomous weapons says the imagery of fictional killer robots is distracting from a seriously dangerous issue.

News in Brief

  1. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  2. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  3. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  4. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US
  5. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  6. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  7. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  8. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference