Maple Grove citizens demonstrate support for Hindu Temple

9:53 AM, Apr 14, 2006   |    comments
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Leaders at a Hindu Temple in Maple Grove hope the future will be better than the last week. The temple needs extensive repairs after vandals armed with bats damaged the building and the hand carved religious figures and other items inside. An estimated 600 people attended a forum Thursday to discuss the issue, with many expressing the need for religious tolerance. "There's no doubt that the widespread damage done to the temple leads many, if not all, in the Hindu community to believe that this is a crime of bias," said Anantanand Rambachan, a religion professor at St. Olaf College. Nara Yanan of the Tamil Association of Minnesota said more than 20,000 Hindus live in Minnesota partly because they feel accepted here. "Minnesota is one of the most wonderful places," Yanan said. "We live here because of the sense of security it offers. Now, I have this sense of fear." The 43,000-square-foot, $9 million temple had been scheduled to open in June for religious services. "We as a city we are doing what we can to solve the crime, asking anybody who knows anything about this to contact the police so we can get it solved and move forward," said Maple Mayor Mark Steffenson. Temple leaders hope to receive more than a dozen new statues from India in time for the building's opening on June first.

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