Vacationers in Long Island, USA, were surprised to see a light aircraft trailing a flag in the skies reading "proswastika.org" a few weeks ago. The puzzling advertisement was neither a prank nor a neo-Nazi
initiative; the Raeliens, the world's largest "UFO religion", was behind the stunt.
The movement, which is active in Israel
as well, has launched a campaign aimed at rehabilitating the icon affiliated with the Third Reich, since, according to them, the Nazis' use of the ancient symbol has been allowed to stand for long enough.
Before Adolf Hitler adopted the icon as the Nazi symbol in 1920, it appeared in different forms in China,
Africa and South Asia since the Bronze Age.
As reported by The Guardian, Thomas Kaenzig, head of the pro-swastika movement, said: "As long as we associate the swastika with Hitler and the horrors of the Nazi regime, they own it. We want to take it back. The swastika is an ancient symbol of good luck and harmony. It can be found all over the world."
Kaenzig further told the British
paper: "If somebody associates the swastika with something negative, then I feel offended. It's part of our official symbol. What about our feelings? When we flew the flag on the East Coast it wasn't to incite hatred, but to educate."
According to the Guardian, the Raelians, formed in 1974, claim to have 70,000 members worldwide. They believe that a race of aliens called the Elohim created earth, and that they chose former journalist Claude Vorilhon as a prophet to spread their message of peace and free love. Their logo is a swastika inside the Star of David – the swastika represents "infinity in time", the Star of David "infinity in space", apparently.
Several days prior to the Long Island display, the Raeliens marked the "Day of the Swastika", in which an advert for the movement played on a big screen in Times Square, New York, in which people formed a swastika in a swimming pool. Kaenzig told The Guardian the message received a mostly positive response.
However the Long Island crowd was less tolerant: The group's website shares that one of the cult's activists, who passed by with a cart full of swastika signs, was attacked and beat by two passersby.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop