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Richard David for City Council Campaign: A Mission to Promote Hindu Political Rights in New York

It is a proud feeling to see the efforts of Richard David in setting up the agenda for equality through Hindu political rights

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Richard David
Democratic candidate Richard David who is running for City Council from District 28, New York. Facebook
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August 07, 2017: It is estimated that over 500,000 Hindus live in New York City’s Metropolitan areas. The Hindus belong to different nationalities such as India, Bangladesh, Suriname, Trinidad, and Guyana.

All five boroughs of New York have the presence of Hindus, particularly Queens which has the largest Hindu population.

Hindu political rights, in the past few decades, have been ignored by prominent leaders and officials in New York.

With this issue in mind, Richard David- a young man- is running for the City Council elections. Richard is a Democratic candidate Richard David and is preparing to run for City Council from District 28, New York. A Hindu, although the name might not imply so, Richard David’s campaign is based on the promotion of Hindu political rights. A number of Hindu activists residing in the US have supported the campaign.

District 28 also has the largest Hindu population in the US and hence the most number of Mandirs (i.e., temples: Hindu places of worship).

It is a proud feeling to see the efforts of Richard David in setting up the agenda for equality through Hindu political rights.

Recently, Richard David released his campaign plans which are as follows:

Public Education and Hinduism:

One of the central pillars of Hinduism is its stress on Education. Vital to the progress and development of diverse communities of the city is the opportunity to learn. It is significant to be educated about the culture and Hindu faith. Richard David plans on establishing a Hindu school which would carry out the education on Hinduism and its philosophies. The campaign has worked out a feasible plan that would require the crucial support of the elected officials.

Prevention of Bullying: 

Hindu children are frequently bullied in American schools for their religious background. This has adverse impacts on the well-being (physical and mental) of the child and further worries the parents. As a result of this, many Hindu families are insecure and uncomfortable in the foreign land. The Richard David campaign has formulated a tolerance program that can be worked out after-schools. It is the right approach to tackle the issue and teach respect and plurality.

An option of Vegetarian Food in Schools:

Vegetarianism is a strict principle for many Hindu followers. But this consideration is often not met in public places and events. Vegetarians do not account for secondary priority. While few options are available such as peanut butter sandwiches and salads, Hindu cuisines that make up a proper vegetarian meal is a conscious effort of the campaign.

Hindi as Foreign Language in Schools:

American schools hardly provide Hindi as a foreign language for many students who have a strong interest in the language. These kids are not only Indians but also South Asians and Indo Caribbeans who want to learn the language. The campaign seeks to add Hindi in the curriculum of foreign languages.

Indo Caribbeans and South Asian History:

The history of the Indo Caribbeans and South Asian region are rarely included in school papers. The omission of it from world history implies the ignorance towards Hindus in New York. This needs to be added so that history enthusiasts can know the significant events that shaped today’s South Asia.

The Festival of Diwali:

Diwali has been a part of discussions for far too long, yet no progress has been made to recognize the day as a holy event in school calendars. It is not only significant for Hindus, but also for Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. The campaign seeks to introduce holiday for the Holy festival.

A Seat at the Table:

The Hindus of New York are not represented successfully at the time of cultural events and festivals. Thus it becomes important to have a Hindu at the Seat of representation. A Hindu leader must be present at the platform for further discussions and dialogue.

Chaplains:

Prayers offered at a Christian Chaplain serves as hope, particularly in prisons and hospitals. The campaign is also putting efforts to open the chaplains for Hindus seeking comfort.

Water Site for Offerings: 

Offerings in the water is a vital aspect of Hindu lifestyle. As of now, these is no place alotted for the establishment of a water site for Hindus. Thus, there is an urgent need for such a site.

Honoring Hindu Contributions to the City of New York: 

Hindus are contributing and doing much for New York City every day, but those individuals are not often acknowledged or publicly thanked and appreciated for their contributions. The recognition of these Hindu leaders in public life is important.


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Akayed Ullah, the Bangladeshi suspect in New York bombing described as cocky and weird

Recently a bombing had occurred in the Time Square of New York city and a Bangladeshi has been suspected in the bombing who lived in New York for 7 years.

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Law enforcement officials in New York City work after a bomb blast near Times Square, Dec. 11, 2017
Law enforcement officials work following an explosion near New York's Times Square on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in New York. Police said a man with a pipe bomb strapped to him set off the crude device in an underground passageway under 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
  • The bomb blast occurred on December 11, 2017 in New York
  • Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi has been suspected the cause for the bomb blast
  • The suspect has been described as cocky and weird

New York, December 12, 2017: Neighbors described a Bangladeshi man suspected of setting off a bomb Monday near New York’s Times Square as “cocky” and “weird,” but were surprised to hear he was involved in what local authorities called an “attempted terrorist attack.”

The suspect and three other people were injured in the explosion during the morning rush-hour in an underground subway passage about 200 feet from a busy bus terminal in Manhattan, officials said.

Authorities arrested Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Brooklyn resident, after he allegedly detonated an improvised explosive device that was strapped to his body, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

The explosion left Ullah “with burns and wounds to his body” and injured three others, officials said.

“He wasn’t very nice. He was kind of cocky,” Ullah’s longtime neighbor, Alan Butrico, told BenarNews. “He was often blocking my driveway.”

Butrico, owner of a locksmith and hardware in Brooklyn’s Flatlands neighborhood, said he was Ullah’s next-door neighbor for about seven years.

“I would ask him to move the car whenever he was blocking my driveway and he would react like he was giving me a favor,” Butrico said.

But Butrico, who lived in the neighborhood for 27 years, said he was surprised to hear that Ullah, whom he described as a former cab driver and electrician, was involved in a terrorist attack.

“I’m glad he didn’t blow up my store,” Butrico said. “I’m glad he went to Manhattan.”

The bomb exploded at around 7:20 a.m. (local time) in a subway corridor on 42nd Street, between 7th and 8thavenues, police said.

“This device was intentionally detonated by the subject,” O’Neill, the police commissioners, said in a statement posted on the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Twitter page.

Three people in the immediate area suffered minor injuries and the suspect, who suffered severe burns, was placed in custody and transported to a hospital, O’Neill said. Fire officials said Ullah had burns to his hands and abdomen.

A photo published by the New York Post showed a bearded man crumpled on the ground with his shirt apparently blown off and black soot covering his bare midriff.

“Let’s be also clear this was an attempted terrorist attack. Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. “The only injuries we know at this point were minor.”

Kat Mara, who works at a real-estate company near Ullah’s home, said the Bangladeshi suspect was “very aloof.”

“He’s like a loner, like there’s always something in his mind,” Mara, 63, told BenarNews, saying that she often saw Ullah at a bagel store across the street from her office.

“He’s very aloof,” she said. “I would say hello and he wouldn’t say anything. He just seemed a little weird.”

No criminal record in Bangladesh

In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, Police Inspector-General A.K.M. Shahidul Hoque said Ullah had no criminal record in Bangladesh and that he last visited his home country on Sept. 8.

Hoque told the Reuters news service that the information was based on Ullah’s passport number, and said the suspect was from the southern Bangladeshi district of Chittagong.

New York daily newspapers, quoting unnamed law-enforcement sources, said Ullah arrived in the United States from Bangladesh on Sept. 21, 2011 on an F-4 Visa, which is for siblings of American citizens. He is currently a permanent resident, according to officials.

Shamim Ahmad, a spokesman at Bangladesh’s embassy in Washington, did not confirm to BenarNews during a phone interview that Ullah was a Bangladeshi.

Consular officials in New York were awaiting an official report from the NYPD, Ahmad said.

He later on issued a statement saying that the Bangladesh government “is committed to its declared policy of ‘zero tolerance’ against terrorism, and condemns terrorism and violent extremism in all forms or manifestations anywhere in the world, including Monday morning’s incident in New York City.”

“A terrorist is a terrorist irrespective of his or her ethnicity or religion, and must be brought to justice,” the statement said.

Ullah lived with his father, mother and brother and worked as a driver in New York for a few years until his license lapsed in 2015, officials said. Neighbors said he lived with his family on the first floor of a two-story home.

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill holds a news conference outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan with Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after a pipe-bomb strapped to a man exploded in a crowded subway corridor near Times Square, Dec. 11, 2017. [AP]
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill holds a news conference outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan with Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after a pipe-bomb strapped to a man exploded in a crowded subway corridor near Times Square, Dec. 11, 2017. [AP]
Six weeks, two terrorist incidents

Monday’s bombing occurred nearly six weeks after a deadly terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan.

A man killed eight people and injured a dozen others as he drove a pickup truck down a bicycle path near the World Trade Center on Oct. 31. An officer shot and wounded the suspect.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the suspect, identified as a 29-year-old Uzbek, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, was indicted last month on murder and terror-related charges.

John Miller, the New York Police Department’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said authorities had thwarted 26 terrorist plots in New York since Sept. 11, 2001.

“We have prevented a significant number of plots,” Miller told reporters Monday.

“Your intel operations are looking for indicators,” he said. “They don’t have an X-ray for a man’s soul.”

The blast on Monday also happened two months after U.S. authorities accused a 37-year-old Filipino doctor of providing funds to support a foiled plot last year to carry out bombings and shootings in crowded areas in New York City, including the subway system and in Times Square.

Russell Salic, a surgeon, was arrested in April 2017 in the Philippines and is awaiting extradition to the United States. Authorities said those thwarted attacks were to be carried out by the suspects under the name of the extremist group Islamic State during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan last year.

Akayed Ullah
Akayed Ullah [Reuters]
Kazi Nishat Tarana, a Bangladeshi living in New York, told BenarNews she was shocked to hear reports that the suspect in Monday’s explosion could be a Bangladeshi.

“I want to say very clearly, he doesn’t represent Bangladesh,” she said. “The people of our country is peace loving and this man no way is influenced by our great tradition of peace and harmony. We are deeply upset. I hope no Bangladeshi student or immigrant will be judged differently after this incident.”

In Dhaka, Sohaili Ferdous, an assistant inspector general of police, said the department would investigate any possible ties between the latest New York attack and Bangladesh.

“Right now, we cannot give information about him. We have to check with our database whether he had any militant or criminal background,” Ferdous told BenarNews.

Kamran Reza Chowdhury in Dhaka contributed to this report. (BenarNews)