BAPS hosted leaders of faith based organizations at its centers across North America in ‘Unity Forums’ to discuss how to address public safety awareness and other issues affecting places of worship. The event was organized locally at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Melville, NY on June 12, 2022.
Founded on the Hindu belief of “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” meaning, “the entire world is one family,” the event brought together leaders from over 29 Hindu mandirs and other faith-based organizations to share ideas with each other and meet with government officials and security experts.
The experts from local, state, and federal agencies conveyed the importance of maintaining awareness and being prepared, as well as provided best practices for security in places of worship. In some forums, District Attorneys also joined the event to explain laws and judicial processes relevant to Hindu mandirs. Question and answer sessions were held with the respective experts, allowing community members to voice concerns and receive further guidance.
The other local officials present at the event included Mr. Raymond A. Tierney, Suffolk County District Attorney; Mr. Allen Bode, Chief Assistant District Attorney; Captain Michael Smith Deputy Sheriff Investigator; Mr. Jon Kaiman, Suffolk County Deputy County Executive.
Mr. Timothy Brown Police Officer, Department of Homeland Security-Suffolk County police department; Mr. Gerard Hardy Chief of Patrol with Mr. William Scrima Inspector, Commanding Officer Second Precinct Suffolk County Police Department; Mr. Persaud for the New York City Police Department also attended this forum and gave guidance.
As part of the Unity Forum, renowned scholar of Hindu Philosophy and Sanskrit, Mahamahopadhyaya Pujya Bhadreshdas Swami also addressed the attendees. Drawing on his extensive dialogue with scholars and Hindu leaders throughout the world, Bhadreshdas Swami shed light on how knowledge can be applied to foster social harmony and peace.
As a global ambassador of the Hindu faith and Indian intellectual heritage, Bhadreshdas Swami’s unique insights highlighted the need for a continuous dialogue and cooperative efforts not only for physical safety, but also for establishing a solid foundation of Hindu practices anchored in scriptural teachings and principles.