'Violence against Sikh Americans risen post 9/11'

Condemning the shootout at a gurudwara in Wisconsin that killed six worshippers, US lawmakers said that the government should take action to protect Sikhs and prosecute hate crimes. Aziz Haniffa reports

American lawmakers, currently in their home constituencies after leaving Washington DC, for the summer recess, have strongly condemned the massacre of innocent Sikhs at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin gurudwara. They called for an end to the ignorance about Sikh Americans, who have continued to be a target of hate crimes and racial profiling since 9/11.

US Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, said, “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and to the Sikh community nationwide, which is in shock over this senseless shooting. While we mourn those lost in this tragedy, we must redouble our efforts to end hate crimes of any kind and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those intent on mass killing.”

Boxer also said it was imperative that “we must also end the ignorance about Sikh Americans, whose faith is devoted to peace and understanding and who have contributed so much to California and our country.”

US Congressman Brad Sherman, also a Democrat representing Califorinia, and a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, hosted a Town Hall meeting in Tarzana, California, where he discussed the tragic events that unfolded at the gurudwara in Wisconsin.

Along with more than 300 attendees, Sherman observed a moment of silence in recognition of the lost lives. He was then joined by three members of the Sikh community of the San Fernando Valley, who led the Town Hall in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sherman then went on to express his sorrow over the shooting of the Sikh worshippers by lone gunman Wade Michael Page, 40, who was killed by the police when he refused to surrender. “I am deeply saddened by the events in Oak Creek, my thoughts and prayers are with the families, and I’m sure that’s true for everyone here.

“I condemn the senseless act of violence against the Sikh community in the strongest terms. Sikhs are a very peaceful and tolerant community, but violence against Sikh-Americans has, sadly, risen dramatically since 9/11.”

Sherman added, “I have always backed stronger US government action to protect Sikhs and prosecute hate crimes,” and recalled, “less than a month after 9/11, I joined my colleagues in introducing a resolution to condemn bigotry and violence against Sikh-Americans in the wake of the terrorist attacks.”

He noted that the community was highly susceptible to violence because of their appearance. “Most recently, in April of this year, I joined with my colleagues in sending a letter to the Department of Justice urging the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin collecting data on hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans.”

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'Violence against Sikh Americans risen post 9/11'

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August 7, 2012   Posted in: Hate Crimes |

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