A Hindu temple in the US state of Georgia was vandalised by unknown miscreants over the weekend, a Hindu American organisation said today.
According to local media, members of Vishwa Bhavan Mandir in the Monroe city of Georgia found graffiti and profanity displayed on their place of worship early Saturday morning.
Spray painted messages included "ha ha" and "LOL".
The Hindu American Seva Communities (HASC) which has taken up the case, said the incident of vandalism has shocked Hindus across the country.
"As soon as I saw it I was just devastated," Kelly Dammar, a temple member, was quoted as saying by myfoxatlanta.com. "I was in tears because this is like another home for me."
"The desecration of the Lord Shiva statue (murti) was significantly heartbreaking for the Hindu community in Georgia, as it is the main deity of worship. Across the country, we find, many mandirs (temples) do not actively voice their concerns other than file a police report," HASC said in a statement.
The statue of the Lord Shiva was covered with black spray paint, local media reported.
"It is important for our places of worship, around the country, to be aware of what has happened as this could happen to anyone. They should educate themselves and be prepared with a security plan and not wait for an act of vandalism or a hate crime to start the process," said Anju Bhargava, HASC, board member.
"Just last week in Queens, New York, a Sikh father of two was critically injured due to a targeted hate crime, hence it becomes even more imperative for the Dharmic community (people of eastern traditions) to speak up and have more law enforcement resources devoted to finding the hate attackers," she said.
In a statement, HASC urged Hindu temples to transform this heinous crime and moment of pain into a moment of understanding towards greater understanding and social harmony.
"It is important for us to come together and address the issue of vandalism and hate crime impacting our communities and places of worship," it said.