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August 14, 2012 > A letter from the Sikh community

A letter from the Sikh community

A senseless tragedy

Right on the heels of the horrific incident at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, another senseless killing took place; this time in a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Subsequently, a Moslem mosque was burned to the ground in Joplin, Missouri. Fortunately, no lives were lost in that incident. However, at the Gurdwara, seven persons, including the gunman, have died and three, including a police officer, have been seriously injured. According to the police, this incident appears to be a hate crime motivated by ignorance and bigotry.

The Bay Area Sikh Community, like the rest of Americans, is shocked beyond words by this tragedy. Americans of all persuasions have joined the Sikh Community in condemning the killings of innocent people in the name of race and intolerance. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the victims of the tragedy for the loss of their loved ones. May God grant peace to the souls of the deceased and moral strength to their kin to bear their loss, and grant healing and solace to the wounded hearts.

We offer our gratitude and sympathies to the brave policemen who put their own lives in danger to defend further loss of life at the Gurdwara, and pray for quick and full recovery of the injured, including police officer Lt. Brian Murphy who was injured defending members of the congregation.

The Sikh community is immensely grateful to our brothers and sisters from a broad spectrum of faiths and communities for their sentiments and messages of support. We have received communications of sympathy and support from numerous elected officials including President Barack Obama. We would also like to specifically thank the media for providing information and unwavering support and coverage in this difficult time. Their coverage is crucial in educating the masses on who Sikhs are.

We are proud to be Americans. We stand strong and united in the aftermath of this tragedy and refuse to be divided by race and hatred.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in India in the 15th century. Sikh men stand out with their distinct turbans and beards; almost all who wear turbans in the United States are Sikhs. Sikhism is world's fifth largest organized religion that preaches equality of all human beings. It has more than 27 million followers all over the world. In their daily prayers, Sikhs pray for the well being of entire human race.

In collaboration with other communities and interfaith organizations, an interfaith candlelight vigil and Ardaas (prayer) was held on Wednesday, August 8 at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont. Similar events and prayers have been held locally and throughout the nation.

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