By SITA SHALIK/Associated PressThe United States’ Hindu-American community is increasingly worried about President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against its religion, with the number of people identifying themselves as Hindu-Americans surging in the past few months.
The number of Americans reporting Hindu-Christian ties rose by 1 percent to 9,844 in January, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
Trump has repeatedly denounced Hindu-Muslim ties and attacks on their faith.
Hindu-Muslims are the third-largest U.S. minority and have been underrepresented in U.s. government since the civil rights era.
Trump’s election in November sparked a spike in interest in the religion and prompted some members of Congress to announce plans to promote Hindu-majority groups.
The Hindu American Federation, which represents more than 1 million Hindu Americans, has long held out hope that a Trump administration would be more welcoming to Hindu-U.S.-based groups and would include more Hindu Americans in its outreach efforts.
“We are at a tipping point, and I’m very hopeful,” said Rakesh Mehta, who heads the group’s U. S. chapter.
“But we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number and volume of the inquiries from Americans of Indian descent.
We’ve also seen an increase in interest from American Hindus.”
Mehtas’ group has been working to find out what impact Trump’s recent remarks have had on Hindu- American support for him.
“We’re seeing a spike of interest in Hindu-Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and other faiths that are seen as different and distinct,” Mehtamas said.
“It is not a single religion.
It is an American religion.
We are a group that embraces every aspect of American identity.”
The Hindu-Indian community has been vocal in their support of Trump in recent months, saying he has shown a willingness to listen to and understand the issues that the community faces, such as immigration, trade and race.
The Trump administration has made a number of controversial decisions, including banning the Islamic State group from entering the United State, revoking protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally, and banning Syrian refugees from entering.
While Trump has said he would support Indian-Americans who identify as Hindu, he has not specifically mentioned Hindu-America in his remarks.
In March, a Republican congressman called on the president to call the community “Hindu America.”
In September, Trump criticized a U.K. Sikh-American group that supported Trump, saying, “There are a lot of reasons why they would vote for him.”
Mehras said Trump has yet to comment on the community’s concerns, but believes the president could at least be receptive to their concerns.
“He’s made an effort to reach out to us.
It may not be a direct answer, but I think that the President is open to a discussion about it,” Mehrass said.
Mehtaa also said Trump’s comments about Hindu-Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are not reflective of his worldview.
“I don’t think he sees a lot in common with any of our groups,” Mehtaa said.
While Mehtahas hopes Trump would address the concerns of Hindus, others are skeptical.
“Trump has said that he’s a Hindu nationalist and that he thinks all religions are equal, and we don’t know whether he really believes that,” said Michael Bielawski, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Bielawskis view of the U. s. president has been tempered.
“There is a broad spectrum of Americans who have strong and positive feelings about him, and his campaign has certainly made a lot out of this,” he said.
Trump, who has said the United states is in the midst of a spiritual war between Christianity and Islam, has been a proponent of religion-based immigration reform and a staunch opponent of the Muslim ban.
“A lot of the time he speaks of faith, it’s really not his own faith, he’s talking about faith,” Bielwskis said.
In January, the Trump administration announced a crackdown on immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The U. has been an important place for Hindu- Americans, who make up a majority of the population.
About 10 million Americans identify themselves as Hindus, according the Pew survey.
In 2017, there were 5.7 million Hindu- and Muslim-American adults, according data from Pew.
Hindus account for roughly 30 percent of the American population.
In a 2017 survey by the Pew Center, Hindu-origin adults said their views about religion were the most important part of their identity.
Among the reasons they cited: Religiosity,