Throughout the world there are local, regional, national and international interfaith initiatives; several are formally or informally linked and constitute larger networks or federations. Bur some initiatives are also at personal levels. One such small but significant initiative is the appointment of an Indian-Muslim, as head of the security at the largest US Hindu temple.

A Mumbai-born Muslim is heading the security at the largest US Hindu temple in the Indianapolis, of the US. Lt. Javed Khan has been appointed as the Director of security for the temple that has been in existence for several years but held its opening ceremony only in 2015.

On his appointment, Lt. Khan says it all started a few years ago, when he married his daughter to a Telugu boy at this Hindu temple, after which he started knowing people at the temple. “We are Indians. Half my family is Hindu. I do not believe in Hindu-Muslim thing…I am just doing my duty. I am not doing anything special or extraordinary” Khan said. Also adding “My message is this; we are all one. We are all the children of God. There is only one God and then there are different forms and names, we choose to worship”.

For the temple visitors, several believe him from the Hindu faith. According to Ravi Pattar, chairman of temple Board of Trustees, “He (Khan) provides us security on the weekends and at major events”.

Khan settled in Indiana in 2001, a year after he migrated to the United States. He had been coming to the US since 1986 for participating in various martial arts championship.

A Muslim protecting a temple is unheard of in these days and times. It sends a strong message of inter-faith cooperation and social harmony at a time when religious intolerance rhetoric is on the rise.

by Ashwani Srivastva

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