August 9, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New York: The United Sikhs, a US based civil rights group, has expressed solidarity with the Muslims saying that [a]s worshippers prepare to rebuild the heavily damaged Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Minneapolis. The Sikh body further said that worshippers from all faiths, from all parts of the country, are coming out to defend their muslim brothers and sisters.
“We sent a letter to the Imam and a message of support on social media, letting them know we are praying for them. We’ve also encouraged our member base of nearly 30,000 supporters to support them by contributing to the community center’s GoFundMe page to help them rebuild,” Manvinder Singh from United Sikhs said.
The Islamic Center was damaged after an explosive shattered windows and damaged a room as worshippers prepared for morning prayers Saturday. While there were no injuries, the act of violence is still being taken very seriously by officials at both the local and federal level.
The Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, has called the incident an “act of terror”, while the Department of Homeland Security issued a release saying that it was “in close contact with federal, state and local authorities and local community leaders as the investigation into this matter continues.”
“Our freedom to worship is our inherent right as Americans. An attack on a mosque is like an attack on a gurdwara. It’s an attack on the ideals and values of this country which we cannot afford to take lightly,” Singh continued.
This act comes just after the 5 year anniversary of the deadliest attack on Sikhs in America in US history. On August 5, 2012 a white supremacist went on a deadly shooting rampage at a Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Six people were shot and killed.
“Since 9/11, Sikh Americans have faced discrimination and violence because of their appearance. Those in the Sikh community are easy targets for bigots and hatemongers because they often express their religion through the use of the turban and wear long beards. The turban is often associated with terrorism and it is hurting the Sikh community” Singh added.
United Sikhs fears the rhetoric from political leaders has emboldened nationalists and white supremacists to carry out these bold acts of hate. In lieu of these continuing attacks, United Sikhs offers active shooter training to minimize casualties and enhance preparedness for any and all interested communities.
“Just last month two members of the Sikh community were murdered in separate incidents in California. We have seen a sharp increase in the number of Sikhs who have filed reports of violent and hateful incidents through our online portal. The travel bans, the immigration rhetoric that judges prospective green card holders on their salaries, degrees and English fluency doesn’t help, ” Singh said. “We would like to see our elected officials spend more of their time and resources combating domestic threats against brown and black Americans of all cultures and faiths. We are all Americans and deserve equal protections under the law.” Singh concluded.