Sikh Community in America Express Concern about Possible Hate Backlash from Orlando Killings

orlandaWashington, DC (June 14, 2016) The Sikh community in United States has expressed concern about possible backlash to Orlando killings. Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of Sikh Council on Religion and Education, said, “The Sikh community is saddened by this
tremendous loss of life and our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. The LGBT community already faces so much discrimination and hate and for them to be targeted like this is completely outrageous and unconscionable. We express our deep sympathy and stand in solidarity with the LGBT community in America.”

While expressing the Sikh concerns, he said, “Sikhs across the nation are in a state of heightened alert due to the fear of a possible backlash against turbaned Sikhs and Sikh places of worship all across the nation. Since San Bernardino,
there have been several hateful attacks against Sikhs in California and two Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) in California have been vandalized.” Cecilia Monoz, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council had visited a Sikh congregation in Silver Spring on Sunday which was previously scheduled and had assured the community of Federal government’s support. “It is fundamental to our democracy that people have freedom of worship, but also have freedom from fear,” she said, adding that the Obama Administration has taken steps to address these challenges.

Dr. Singh added, “We should refrain from retaliating against any one group or community. This was not the act of any one community as a whole, it was the act of an individual using a weapon of mass destruction to inflict hate and pain.
No one should be made a target.

We are all Americans and we are grieving as a nation. This incident has left a hole in all of our hearts because we are all Americans and humans first. We must stand strong and united in light of these horrific events and not let fear or
hate destroy our humanity. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.’”

He added, “The senseless violence which is happening in America with regular intervals is making every American feel that they are not safe in any public setting, whether it is a place of worship, a movie theater, a mall, or a nightclub. Gun violence motivated by hate has affected many communities all over this country and too many families are suffering due to this epidemic. We all, as a nation, and faith communities ought to do everything in our power to prevent any attacks like Charleston, Oak Creek, or Sandy Hook.” Sikh Gurdwara (place of worship) was attacked by a lone gunman affiliated with a white supremacy group and 6 Sikh men and women were killed in August 2012.

The Sikh community had a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando shooting at a National Sikh Campaign event in Seattle and prayers were offered for the victims. The Orlando Sikh community is organizing a blood drive and raising money for donations to the victims’ families.

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