Hindus call French boycott over shoe 'insult'

9th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, June 8 (AFP) - Outraged Hindu groups in Britain called on devotees worldwide Wednesday to boycott French-made goods, after a French manufacturer refused to remove a Hindu god from its designer shoes.

LONDON, June 8 (AFP) - Outraged Hindu groups in Britain called on devotees worldwide Wednesday to boycott French-made goods, after a French manufacturer refused to remove a Hindu god from its designer shoes.  

British Hindus have added their voices to growing global anger over the image of Lord Rama, one of the most revered gods, appearing on Minelli brand footwear from the French fashion group Vivarte.  

The Hindu Human Rights group, "incensed by their indifference," said it was organising a rally for this Sunday outside the French embassy in central London.  

The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) umbrella body is also demanding that Hindus pressure the Indian government to stop buying Mirage fighter jets, write to the International Olympic Committee to say Paris should not be chosen as the venue for the 2012 Olympics, and stop flying with Air France.  

"This is the last straw," Ramesh Kallidai, HFB secretary general, said in a statement.   "Hinduism is a very tolerant religion and we have no problems if our images are used in a respectful manner. But to use the image of Lord Rama on a shoe, when we don't even wear shoes inside our temples, is disrespectful and disgraceful," he said.  

"It has hurt the sentiments of over one billion Hindus in the world, and yet Minelli have not agreed to withdraw the sale."  

Kallidai widened his fire to France as a whole, which has introduced a law that forbids the wearing of "conspicuous" religious insignia and garments in state schools, most notably Muslim headscarves.  

"France has a history of religious intolerance. France has refused to accord the status of a bonafide religion to Hindu temples in the country, thus denying them legitimate tax benefits enjoyed by other religions," Kallidai said.  

"Hindu women and men cannot put bindis, tilaks and other forehead markings in school and other places for fear of religious persecution. We are fortunate that Britain has such an excellent model of religious tolerance and community cohesion."

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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