But that hasn’t prevented a bitter battle among Indian-Americans, Hindus and Muslims. The dispute is over billboards to be erected in celebration of a controversial temple that lies some 8,000 miles from Times Square.
The billboards, scheduled to go up on Wednesday, will display 3-D images of the yet-to-be built temple in Northern India and the Hindu deity Ram.
In a measure of the site’s importance to Hindu nationalists, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stones for the temple in Ayodha, a state in Northern India, on Wednesday.
“Centuries of waiting is over today,” Modi said at the ceremony. “Some people will not be able to believe that they are seeing this during their lifetime.”
“Ram Temple will be a modern signifier of our ancient culture, it will be an example of our patriotic fervor, it will be a symbol of the strength of will of our citizens,” Modi continued. “This temple will unify the country.”