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"ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਕੁਫ਼ਰ ਤੋਲਣ ਵਾਲੇ, ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ ਦੇ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਬੋਲਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਸੋਧਣਾ ਹਰ ਗੁਰਸਿੱਖ ਦਾ ਫ਼ਰਜ਼ ਹੈ। ਇਹੋ ਜਿਹੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਜੇ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤਿਵਾਦੀ ਕਹਿੰਦੀ ਹੈ ਤਾਂ ਮੈਂ ਅਤਿਵਾਦੀ ਹਾਂ।"
- Bhai Ranjit Singh (Jathedar Sri Akal Takht Sahib)

Wisconsin Shooting Reaction from American Sikh Organizations (SALDEF, SIKH COALITION, United Sikhs)

August 5, 2012
Source: Khalsa Press

REACTION FROM SALDEF:

SALDEF Assisting Local Community; Ensuring Accurate Media Coverage about Sikhs

Earlier today, a shooting occurred at the Sikh Gurdwara (Sikh congregational place of worship) in Oak Creek, WI, in what law enforcement has described as an act of domestic terrorism. The unprecedented attack has left seven people dead and injured over a handful of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the Oak Creek community following this tragic attack at the Gurdwara.

“The Sikh American community, like all Americans, is shocked after this attack,” said SALDEF Managing Director Kavneet Singh. “We mourn the loss of those who were killed today and pray for the swift recovery of the those injured, including the veteran police officer who put himself in harm's way to protect his community.”

SALDEF thanks our friends and neighbors from across the country for the outpouring of support and condolences as we come together to mourn and heal as one unified national community standing together against violence and bigotry.

“This attack is particularly troubling due to its occurrence at a place of worship,” said Mr. Singh. “All houses of worship, like this gurdwara, are places of peace. Attacks at any of the nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by all Americans. This type of crime strikes at the very foundation of religious freedom, among the fundamental principles upon which this country was built.”





REACTION FROM SIKH COALITION:

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.






REACTION FROM United Sikhs:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 5th Aug 2012 - United Sikhs strongly condemns the shooting of innocent Sikhs attending a morning prayer service today at a Gurdwara (place of worship) in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek. This is very disturbing news for the entire Sikh American Community and the Sikh diaspora worldwide. The incident has been labeled as a well organized crime of terror. Reports suggest that the initial perpetrator was a heavy build, bald, white male who had two handguns and started shooting at the devotees indiscriminately in the Gurdwara parking lot as they were heading for the morning service.

The gunman also shot a police officer attending to the crime scene, multiple times. Reports also suggest of children and the head priest being held as hostage inside the temple premises. Multiple people have been shot and the number of fatalities as of now, including one gunman, are seven. There are reports of bodies lying in the temple parking lot.

We request community members to stay alert and inform law enforcement agencies and United Sikhs about any suspicious activity. We are in constant touch with the White House, the DOJ, FBI and local law enforcement. We have received the following message from the White House:

“The President was alerted to the shooting incident in Wisconsin at 12:51PM Eastern and continues to be updated by federal law enforcement agencies. We will keep you posted.”

As of now 6 Sikhs are confirmed dead: 1 Kathavachak (spiritual discourse giver), 2 sewadars (helpers) at the Gurdwara (place of worship), one woman, one old gentleman, and the identity of another is unknown. The single gunman is also confirmed dead.

“This act of terror has left the community in shock and we are counting on law enforcement agencies to make a statement soon to reassure the community,” said Manwinder Singh, United Sikhs community advocacy director.


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