Hindus Teach Forgiveness Lesson to Temple Vandals

May 21, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: WCCO


The reckless destruction of a Hindu Temple in Maple Grove in April 2006 was a crime that infuriated the community. Hindu sculptures were toppled, windows were broken and 125 holes were punched into the walls.

In all, there was about $300,000 in damage, not to mention the loss of priceless artwork, but from the wreckage came the chance for the Hindu community to demonstrate how they value love, compassion, accountability and forgiveness.

The young men who admitted to the crime were welcomed back into the temple by the people they hurt. So much has changed since that night the men broke in.

"When you try to forget something like that you, you actually do. It's kind of all hazy," said Paul Spakovsky, one of the temple vandals.

The two men had no idea that every hand-etched detail, every statue, icon and image carried a symbolic meaning.

"When we came here, we really didn't know what it was. We were just kind of, ya know, 19 ... kind of young and dumb," said Tyler Tuomie, another of the temple vandals.

"I live down the road pretty close to here. And we were just anxious to be crazy for the night and just wanted to do something," said Spakovsky.

Now, three years since their crime, the temple that they ransacked is quite special to them.

"We just really found that the Hindu society, they really practice what they preach. They didn't want to turn us into career criminals," said Tuomie.