Jews back Hindus on protest against Obama Nataraja cover

November 22 edition of Newsweek depicts US President Obama in Nataraja pose.

Nevada: Jews have come out in the support of Hindus who were upset over the cover of November 22 edition of American newsweekly Newsweek which depicts US President Barack Obama in Nataraja pose, saying that it trivializes their venerated deity Siva.

Rabbi Jonathan B Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Newsweek had been very insensitive in this case by using Hinduism’s sacred concepts and symbols to dramatise its point and to push its selfish agenda. He asked Newsweek to issue an apology to the world Hindu community immediately clarifying the issue.

Frierich pointed out that Jews were all for the freedom of the press and other media, but media should also show responsibility and not unnecessarily drag the revered religious traditions to highlight some unconnected issues. Faiths were highly important to the devotees and any attempts at their misuse could hurt their feelings.

Meanwhile, eminent Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that community was upset at Newsweek for not coming out with a disclaimer/apology on the issue despite the community’s protest over the last few days. A highly respected newsmagazine like Newsweek should have been quicker to react and apologise on its indecorous and inappropriate use of Lord Siva’s image.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, welcomed the world media to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not just for improper showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their commercial or other agenda. Media should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and sacred symbols of all religions.

This Newsweek cover page is headlined as "GOD OF ALL THINGS".

Nataraja (Lord of the dance) is a well known iconic representation of Lord Siva, symbolising his salvific, destructive, and creative roles; when he dances the world to destruction to create it again as a chapter of the ongoing cosmic cycle. Siva, along with Brahma and Visnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Best known depiction of Nataraja is installed in a Tamil Nadu temple in India.

Newsweek, launched in 1933, is published from New York City and reportedly has a worldwide circulation of over four million.


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