Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2012
6 People Killed in Attack on Wisconsin Sikh Temple, Muslim and Arab American Organizations Condemn the Hate Crime and Advice Caution
Sikh Coalition Responds To Tragic Shooting in Wisconsin
(New York, New York) August 5, 2012 –
The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh American civil rights organization in the U.S., has started an emergency response in the wake of the tragic shootings in Oak Creek, Wisconsin this morning.
With multiple news outlets reporting varying facts on what transpired at the Sikh temple (or Gurdwara) earlier today it remains clear that this story remains an evolving and fluid situation.
“The Sikh Coalition’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the shooting, the Sikh community of Milwaukee, and the larger community of Wisconsin, which we know will stand with their Sikh neighbors with their support and prayers during this very trying time,” said Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur.
The Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin was founded in 1997 and had over 400 peaceful worshipers that worked and lived in the greater Milwaukee area. The Gurdwara, known as being a wonderful neighbor, had come to represent the valued contributions of the Sikh faith in a community where Sikhism was understood to be another contributing fabric in the cloth of American plurality.
"I just want to say this temple was built a number of years ago and there have never been any problems with this temple," Oak Creek Alderman Dan Jakubczyk said. "They've been a plus to this city and to my district.”
With over 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with over 500,000 followers in the U.S. For more information on Sikhism please visit our website here.
The Sikh Coaliton has been in touch with both the FBI’s Civil Rights Division and the White House and both have promised to continue to be in touch with our staff as they monitor the situation closely. Additionally, the Sikh Coalition is in direct contact with a Trustee of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in order to learn more about the shooting before taking further action.
“There have been multiple hate crime shootings within the Sikh community in recent years and the natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case. Let’s let law enforcement investigate the case and as new facts emerge the dialogue can change. Americans died today in a senseless act of violence and Americans of all faiths should stand in unified support with their Sikh brothers and sisters,” said Sapreet Kaur.
The Sikh Coalition has experts available for commentary on Sikhism, Sikh civic engagement, and past incidents of violence directed against Sikhs both in New York and in Washington D.C. For all media inquires please contact Sapreet Kaur: firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-655-3095 x81 or or Amardeep Singh; email@example.com, 212-655-3095 x83 and somebody will get back to you within 30 minutes.
Urgent Community Advisory: Exercise Caution at Places of Worship
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | August 5, 2012 --
In light of the shooting earlier today at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, and as a result of a recent increase in hate crimes targeting the Arab, Muslim and South Asian-American communities, and their places of worship, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is asking that all members of the affected communities exercise extreme caution and immediately report any incidents of harassment, abuse or violence to the appropriate authorities
Reports indicate that six people have been killed, along with the gunman, and many others wounded in the Sunday morning shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. ADC sends its thoughts and prayers to the victims of the shooting. ADC reiterates that there is no room for hate and such violence must not be tolerated. ADC will continue to stand with the Sikh American community, and other minority groups, in combating discrimination and hate.
ADC reminds members of these communities that equal protection and due process rights are afforded to everyone, including non-citizens, in the United States. See below for more information about your rights and what to do if you are a victim of a hate crime, profiling, or other discriminatory conduct.
ADC had expressed, and continues to express, to the Department of Justice (DOJ) our concerns over the increase of hate crimes targeting the respective communities. ADC will continue to urge the DOJ to pursue and prosecute such hate crimes. A succession of hate crimes within only the past few days suggests that the bigoted rhetoric has now manifested in hateful acts.
The increase of anti-Muslim rhetoric by certain media personalities, elected officials, and political hopefuls is detrimental to our Country; and, as already experienced, leads to an increase in hate crimes against Arab, Muslim, and South Asian-Americans, as well as those perceived to be Arab or Muslim.
If you feel you have been a victim of a hate crime, please contact the ADC Pro Bono Legal Department at 202-244-2990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to these recent developments, ADC is releasing the following advisory statement to members of the Arab, Muslim, South Asian and Sikh-American communities.
Ensure that any place of worship you attend is prepared with an emergency plan that can be implemented should the need arise. Also, be familiar with all the exits to your place of worship, in case the building is attacked. For Muslims, contact your local law enforcement officials and ask for protection during the night prayers, particularly during the month of Ramadan. Lastly, it is advisable to find out whether the location has an open line of communication with law enforcement. If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion or national origin: call the police (dial 911 in most communities), and/or contact the local FBI office. It is the FBI's job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. A list of FBI field offices is included on our website With the start of the coming school year, ensure that your children are aware that they can report any incidents of bullying or harassment to a school official or other adult. Work with your children's school to implement an anti-discriminatory policy, if a satisfactory one is not already in place.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non-profit, non-sectarian and non-partisan, is the largest grassroots Arab-American civil rights and civil liberties organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk. ADC has a national network of chapters and members in all 50 states.
CAIR: American Muslims Stand with Sikhs After Wis.
Shootings Houses of worship urged to review advice in CAIR community safety kit
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/5/12) –-
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that American Muslims "stand with their Sikh brothers and sisters" following a deadly shooting attack targeting a house of worship of that faith this morning in Wisconsin.
In a statement, the Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization said:
"While details of the attack and the motivation of the attacker are still emerging, American Muslims stand with their Sikh brothers and sisters in this time of crisis and loss. We condemn this senseless act of violence, pray for those who were killed or injured and offer sincere condolences to their loved ones."
CAIR officials are in contact with the Milwaukee Muslim community as it offers support to its Sikh neighbors.
Because of this and other violent incidents, CAIR is urging mosques and houses of worship of all faiths nationwide to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit."
CAIR has in the past spoken out against bias-motivated attacks on American Sikhs. [NOTE: Sikh men who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith are often targeted by bigots who mistake them for Muslims.]
Last year, CAIR offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals who gunned down two elderly Sikh men in Elk Grove, Calif.
In 2010, CAIR called for an FBI investigation of an attack on a Sikh cab driver in West Sacramento, Calif. The driver said his passengers made anti-Muslim remarks during the attack. Two men were later arrested on charges of felony assault and commission of a hate crime.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,
CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171,
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