August 6, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London (August 06, 2012): The Sikh Federation, a UK based Sikh organization has expressed its shock by the senseless and tragic shooting which has occurred at the Sikh Gurdwara of Wisconsin in Oak Creek near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
The shooting has resulted in seven deaths, including the assailant, and several seriously injured. Six Sikhs are confirmed dead: one Kathavachak (spiritual discourse giver), two sewadars (helpers) at the Gurdwara (place of worship), one woman, one elderly gentleman, and the identity of the sixth victim is not yet known.
Bhai Amrik Singh Gill, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this shooting, the Sikh community of Wisconsin, and the larger Sikh community across the USA. We offer our condolences and urge all to pray for the victims, their families and friends, and the surrounding community.
We strongly condemn the shooting of innocent Sikhs during a weekly congregation while the reading of the Sikh scriptures was in progress.’
Whilst the circumstances surrounding the shooting are emerging the police have referred to the incident as one of ‘domestic terrorism’. Reports suggest that the perpetrator was a heavy build, bald, white male who had at least two handguns.
US President Obama has offered his condolences to the victims and said in a written statement: “As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family,”
Bhai Amrik Singh Gill continued:
‘This act of terror has left the whole community in shock and is very disturbing for Sikhs worldwide. We also express our gratitude towards the police officers who confronted the shooter and offer our appreciation for the bravery of the veteran police officer shot multiple times and pray that he will recover fully soon.
This is a troubling day, not only for Sikhs in the USA, but Sikhs across the globe. However, Sikh organisations in the USA should work with the US Government and use this incident of hate crime that is receiving worldwide attention as a spring board to create greater awareness about Sikhs in the wider community so the idea of ‘mistaken identity’ can be firmly put to rest.’
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