May 24, 2022. Recently, certain claims have been made which imply that California’s Assembly (led by efforts of Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan) has amended a bill that would clarify the difference between the Nazi Hakenkreuz (“hooked cross”) and the sacred Swastika. Unfortunately, such claims are false and have instead confused many in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities.

As the below excerpt of the amended language shows, the newer version does not remove the hateful association with the Swastika. This runs contrary to claims that its intention is not to criminalize the “Swastika” sacred to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. While we thank the Assemblywoman’s office for making some changes based on community feedback, we need to point out that in its amended form, the bill perpetuates confusion by using the words “Nazi Swastika.” Further, it ends up associating the sacred Swastika with hate and genocide by saying that the “Nazi Hakenkreuz (hooked cross) [is] also known as the Nazi swastika that was the official emblem of the Nazi party…”

Our two year (and ongoing) Swastika Education and Awareness Campaign (SEAC) has shown that Hitler and the Nazis never used the word “Swastika” but always used the word “Hakenkreuz” when referring to their emblem of death and destruction – hence the bill is incorrect in calling the Nazi emblem a “Nazi Swastika.”

Since late April, CoHNA has been working with the assemblywoman’s office to educate them on the important differences between the two symbols and to use the use the word “Swastika” only when referring to the sacred symbol and use the words “Hakenkreuz,” “Nazi Hakenkreuz,” “hooked cross,” etc. when referring to Hitler’s symbol of hate.

We have also shared the fact that that the state of Victoria, Australia recently passed a bill that correctly distinguishes and references the two terms correctly. In addition, our office has provided suggested language that can be incorporated into the legislation in order to make it inclusive while also condemning hate and intolerance and mentioned that a contemplated bill in the state of New Jersey has redacted references to the Swastika and instead simply used the words “…a symbol of white supremacy or Nazi ideology.”

As such, we want to remind the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain communities that the bill still contains language that associates the Swastika with the Nazis. We must continue to impress upon California’s Assembly to take the necessary steps and ensure that the bill is amended with appropriate references to the Nazi symbol of hate (“Hakenkreuz” or “hooked cross”) versus the sacred Swastika.

We also want to reiterate the fact that we stand with the Jewish, African American, and other communities who have been subjected to bigotry, intolerance and violence under the Nazi emblem and support efforts to ban this symbol of hate – at the same time, we also want to ensure that the correct symbol is denounced and not the Swastika, which is sacred to close to 2 billion people around the world.

California legislators have a historic opportunity to create a bill that is inclusive while denouncing the Nazi emblem of death and destruction – the Hakenkreuz, which is also known as the “hooked cross.”

For additional information, please visit https://cohna.org/california-swastika-bill/ and send an email to California legislators (California residents only) to oppose the bill in its current form and amend the language by removing any association of the Swastika with the Nazis.

To learn more about the topic and our ongoing campaign, please visit https://cohna.org/swastika.

Sincerely,
The CoHNA Board of Directors