Source: The Washington Post
On November 19, 2001, The Washington Post reported that Hindus from the area gathered at a Temple in Beltsville, MD to celebrate Diwali. "There are more than 800 million Hindus in the world and 75,000 in the Washington area, primarily Indian Americans and Indians. Hitesh Patel, spokesman for the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, or sanctuary, in Beltsville, said the celebration is a time for those of the Hindu faith to reflect and set goals in the same way that Christians mark the New Year...'This is a time when we come together and forget all of our differences,' said Patel, who added that this year, Hindus are also concerned in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, particularly because some of them have been targeted in hate crimes...During the celebration, men and women...offered prayers before a portrait of their world spiritual leader, His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The Swami Maharaj issued a message and prayer for the United States after the terrorist attacks, and during yesterday's celebration, exhibits were set up by people from across the area to show that Hindus are involved in social ministry."