“We as American people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance, respect and inclusion,” Om Hindu said in a statement on July 18. “We have no doubts that in long run we will be able to practice our religion and live peacefully in this region and work towards a pluralistic society.” The group also said it was moving forward with its plan for the temple.
The sheriff’s office does not have any information that organization was targeted because of its faith, Stanley said. “It appears just to be vandalism,” he said, adding that police have increased its patrols in the area. Manujunath Shamanna, a member of the organization’s board of directors, said that his group first noticed the vandalised sign when its members visited the site on July 11. The organization then reported it to the sheriff’s office. “It is very disappointing,” Shamanna said of the damaged sign. “It could be some kids playing.” About 500 Indian families live in Forsyth County.
The vandalism will not affect the organization’s plan to build its temple, Shamanna said. Former Clemmons Mayor John Bost offered his apologies for the incident in a post on the Journal’s Facebook page.
The Reverend Christopher Burcham, pastor at Union Hill Baptist Church, said he and his wife were disappointed when they noticed the vandalized sign. His church is about 275 metres from the site of the planned Hindu temple.