Working Definition of Hinduphobia

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Working Definition of Hinduphobia

Hinduphobia is a set of antagonistic, destructive, and derogatory attitudes and behaviors towards Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) and Hindus that may manifest as prejudice, fear, or hatred.

Hinduphobic rhetoric reduces the entirety of Sanatana Dharma to a rigid, oppressive, and regressive tradition.  Prosocial and reflexive aspects of Hindu traditions are ignored or attributed to outside, non-Hindu influences. This discourse actively erases and denies the persecution of Hindus while disproportionately painting Hindus as violent.  These stereotypes are used to justify the dissolution, external reformation, and demonization of the range of indigenous Indic knowledge traditions known as Sanatana Dharma. 

The complete range of Hinduphobic acts extends from microaggressions to genocide. Hinduphobic projects include the destruction and desecration of Hindu sacred spaces; aggressive and forced proselytization of Hindu populations; targeted violence towards Hindu people, community institutions, and organizations; and, ethnic cleansing and genocide. 

Some Examples

  • Calling for, abetting, or normalizing the killing or harming of Hindus as a result of an extremist and illiberal view of religion and history;
  • Kidnapping Hindu women and children in acts of forcible marriage and religious conversion;
  • Outright denying or accusing Hindus or any people of inventing or exaggerating the persecution of Hindus, including genocide;
  • Calling for the destruction and dissolution of Hinduism on the basis of its allegedly inherent irredeemability;
  • Accusing those who organize around or speak about Hinduphobia (including the persecution of Hindus) of being agents or pawns of violent, oppressive political agendas. 
  • Maintaining that all inequity in Indian society — including but not limited to sati, caste, misogyny, communal violence, and destruction of places of worship — stem from and are “inextricably bound up with” Hinduism; 
  • Using or enacting symbols and actions that evoke historical attacks on Hindu society (e.g., iconoclasm, killing cows, conversion) in contemporary discourse to intimidate Hindu people;
  • Making unsubstantiated  claims about the political agendas of people who are simply practicing Hinduism;
  • Drawing a causal link between antisocial behaviors and Sanatana Dharma– this can manifest as attributing individuals’ motives uniquely to Hinduism, selectively sampling data to create the perception of a phenomenon, and/or falsely linking observed or apparent phenomena to Hinduism;
  • Caricaturizing Hindu scriptures, including unrepresentative curation from and misinterpretation/mistranslation of texts and exaggeration and distortion of their roles in historical and contemporary Hindu life.  These caricatures are falsely cast as emblematic of the entirety of Sanatana Dharma;
  • Claiming that Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma does not exist as a valid, cohesive category of spiritual traditions; 
  • Erasure of the Hindu civilizational imprint, including the denial of Hindu contributions to specific histories, knowledge systems, geographies, culture, etc., and the superimposition of Western civilization norms;
  • Conflating diasporic Hindu identity with Indian citizenship, ethnicity, and patriotism;
  • Erasure of colonization, including, but not limited to, calling Hindus “the white people of South Asia.”
Updated on June 21, 2021


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