Proposed Hindu Temple Creates Controversy in New York

February 10, 1999

Source: Newsday

On February 10, 1999, Newsday published an article on the problems that Swadhyaya, a Hindu philosophical movement, is experiencing over a proposed Swadhyaya center in Floral Park, NY. A civic group and a local Catholic priest are opposing the proposed $1.5 million center because they say it will "violate zoning laws and create traffic and congestion to an already growing neighborhood." Community board members recently voted to reject the proposed center due to the fact that it is "wider and taller than other area buildings and would require variances because of the proposed structure's height." The community board acts only as an advisory panel, so the final decision will be made by the city's Board of Standards and Appeals. Mary McGee, an associate professor of religion at Columbia University who is studying the influx of Hindu temples in the area, stated: "There may be legitimate community concerns about zoning and traffic. Or they may be using these concerns to hide some sort of prejudice. But from the information we have gathered, there has been hostility and usually some level of discomfort with Hindu temples and centers. It's generated from misunderstanding and fear or concern."