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Community Advocacy Organization

Rebranding the Swastika – Will it work?

Dr. Sheetal Deo and her husband (pictured below) want to try to reclaim the swastika symbol from the evil legacy of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.

For hundreds of years prior to Hitler and his Third Reich, the equilateral cross with its legs bent at right angles was a sacred symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism representing peace and good fortune. It was also used widely by Indigenous people worldwide in a similar vein.

Hitler chose that symbol in 1920 as the logo for his Nazi party. And over time, given the horrors committed by Hitler’s Germany, the Swastika became widely known as “the twisted Cross!”

Today, White supremacists, neo-Nazi groups, and vandals continue to use Hitler’s symbol to stoke fear and hate.

Over the past decade, as the number of Asian residents has grown in North America, the call to reclaim the swastika as a sacred symbol has become louder. Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of Jainism are being joined by Native American elders whose ancestors have long used the symbol as part of healing rituals.

Dr. Deo, who lives and works in New York City, believes people of non-Judeo/Christian faiths should not have to sacrifice or apologize for their sacred symbol just because it has been corrupted by the "twisted cross" of Hitler and the Nazis.

Photo courtesy of AP

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