Vandals Pay Night Visit to Brisbane Temple

By: Madhumangala Das - 8.8 2017

The vandalized window of ISKCON's Brisbane Temple.

Australia’s national news agency, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has reported vandalism at the Brisbane Hare Krishna temple.  Visiting in the night, vandals spray painted walls and smashed a window before making off in the car they arrived in.

ISKCON News spoke to temple president, Jaya Vijaya Dasa, who said he doesn’t think the devotees are being targeted. “It was a random act,” he said. “Nothing like this has happened before.  Another religious group was attacked in the same week.” The ABC has reported a pig's head was found inside a bag with a swastika label outside the Islamic College of Brisbane.

“The damage was minor,” Jaya Vijaya said. “It’s only outside on the front of the building. It may have been worse if they had come inside. “ 

Jaya Vijaya explained how the repairs became a community effort.  “Eight devotees, myself, and two visitors got to work to replace the window and paint the wall. We acted immediately, and now it’s looking better than before. The community was very happy with the quick turn around and the moving forward confidently approach.” He said. 

Vraja Dham, manager of Govinda’s Restaurant in Brisbane, said “The vandalism is quite unusual, I’ve seen nothing like this here in 20 years. It’s more than likely to be motivated by racism rather than any religious intolerance.” 

“The devotees are resilient,” Vraja Dham said. “They are not taking this too seriously.  Of course there will be more security measures at the temple. “

“There are some positive aspects to the story,” Vraja said. “One of the things that will come out of this is incredible publicity, thousands nationwide will hear about the temple and the devotees. There may also be sympathy from the public authorities that we deal with.” 

Vraja said he also thought that the community would come closer together and be stronger because of the incident. “Internal politics will seem less important after this,” he said.

The ABC news service reported that vandals targeted the front-facing wall of the temple where they spray painted the word “DIE,” and smashed a window, before running to their car. Police are investigating the incident.

The temple has been in its current location for over 5 years. This Janmastami they are expecting around 2,000 visitors.