Dec. 29, 2012
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After an 8-year-old child of Hindu heritage who drew a swastika as part of a third grade holiday assignment in an
Old Bridge Township
elementary school was subjected to traumatic reprimand and racial bias counseling without parental approval, the International Raelian Movement (IRM), which includes a swastika in its most sacred symbol, today issued a statement supporting the child and the child's parents as well as upholding use of the symbol itself.
"The swastika is an ancient symbol of good will for nearly a billion Hindus worldwide, and
Middlesex County, New Jersey
, where this incident took place, is home to a large Hindu minority," said Raelian Guide Thomas Kaenzig, who wrote a letter of protest to the Middlesex School Superintendent on behalf of the IRM. (See the letter along with the child's drawing at
"It's not the child who needs counseling but the teacher aide who complained about the child's drawing, the counselor and the principal who approved the counseling," Kaenzig said. "They need to know the beautiful, original meaning of this symbol, which can be found on every continent. For thousands of years before the Nazis hijacked and distorted it, it signified peace, harmony and good luck. And for billions of people, it means those same things today."
He dismissed statements by
school officials claiming that counseling would also have been ordered for a child choosing to draw a Christian cross or a Star of David.
"I doubt a principal would approve counseling for a Jewish child drawing the Star of David, even if it were to offend a teacher aid from Palestine whose family was slaughtered by the Israeli army," Kaenzig explained. "A double standard is unacceptable, and we expect the
school system to issue an apology to the child and his parents as well as to all others for whom the swastika is a highly sacred symbol."
"Year-round, including on Swastika Rehabilitation Day, Raelians support Hindus and others who revere this ancient symbol," Kaenzig said. "We hold rallies to educate the public and assert the right of people everywhere to use this traditional symbol of peace. Discrimination against those who use it needs to be eliminated once and for all."