California strengthens law against display of Nazi hate symbol Hakenkreuz
22nd September 2022 – Early this week, the California Governor Gavin Newsom gave his nod to toughen state laws against the display of Nazi hate symbol Hakenkreuz (hooked cross), loosely known as Nazi Swastika.
The assembly found that the existing laws are not stringent enough. Technically known as Assembly Bill 2282 (AB 2282), the bill aims to “expand offenses such as hanging a noose, placing or displaying a sign, mark, symbol, emblem or other physical impression including but not limited to a Nazi Swastika and burning, desecrating or destroying a religious symbol such as a cross at schools and public places.”
Refer to the below table for the updated penalties
|1st conviction||Imprisonment for 16 months or 2 or 3 years or fine of not more than USD 10,000 or both OR imprisonment in county jail not to exceed one year or fine of not more than USD 5,000 or both|
|2nd or over convictions||Imprisonment for 16 months or 2 or 3 years or fine of not more than USD 15,000 or both OR imprisonment in county jail not to exceed one year or fine of not more than USD 10,000 or both|
The new law clearly distinguishes between the Nazi Hakenkreuz and pious symbol of Swastika associated with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The bill notes “this legislation is not intended to criminalize the placement or display of the ancient swastika symbols that are associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and are symbols of peace”.
In a video released by the California Governor, he says that “we all have to call out this ugliness wherever we see it and make sure hatemongers know their evil has no place, no place in California”.
“Hate symbols are violent, terrifying and should be punished equally. With hate crimes increasing across the state, it is critical to recognize the power and destructiveness of these symbols and restrict their use equally”, said Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan who authored the updated bill.
Samir Kalra, Managing Director of Hindu American Foundation, said “We thank Assembly Member Bauer-Kahan for her continued leadership on this issue. This is historic legislation to better protect the religious practices of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians.” For more details on the AB2282, Hindu American Foundation release a set of FAQs (see here)