August 19, 2022
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No one should fear for life while praying: Biden on 10th anniversary of Oak Creek gurdwara attack


NEW DELHI: Marking the tenth 12 months of assault on Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin, United States, President Joe Biden on Friday described the taking pictures at because the “deadliest on Sikh People in our nation’s historical past”.
It’s now a decade since a gunman had opened hearth on the gurdwara simply as worshippers had been making ready for Sunday companies. Six neighborhood members — Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suveg Singh Khattra and Satwant Singh Kaleka — had been killed; a seventh, Baba Punjab Singh, succumbed to his accidents years later.
An announcement by President Biden learn, “When generations of Sikh-People in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, constructed their very own place of worship after years of renting native halls, it was a sacred place of their very own and a connection shared with the broader neighborhood. That sense of peace and belonging was shattered on the morning of August 5, 2012, when a white supremacist wielding a semi-automatic handgun arrived on the Gurdwara and commenced taking pictures.”
“The gunman murdered six individuals and wounded 4 that day, in addition to one other sufferer who survived his wounds solely to succumb to them years later. (First Girl) Jill (Biden) and I do know that days like as we speak convey again the ache prefer it occurred yesterday, and we mourn with the victims’ households, the survivors, and the neighborhood devastated by this heinous act.
“Tragically, assaults on our nation’s homes of worship have solely turn into extra frequent over the previous decade. It’s as much as all of us to disclaim this hate protected harbour. Nobody ought to concern for his or her life after they bow their head in prayer or go about their lives in America.”
President Biden additionally praised the Sikh neighborhood and mentioned that Oak Creek had proven the way in which. “After the assault, the Sikh neighborhood returned to their gurdwara and insisted on cleansing it themselves. The son of one of many victims grew to become the primary Sikh in American historical past to testify earlier than Congress, efficiently calling for the federal authorities to trace hate crimes towards Sikhs and different minority teams. The congregation now hosts an annual memorial run to honour the victims. The occasion bears the phrase’s Charhdi Kala, which means everlasting optimism.”
The assertion additional talked about the necessity to proceed to take steps to cut back gun violence and hold fellow People protected. “We should do extra to guard locations of worship and defeat home terrorism and hate in all its types, together with the poison of white supremacy. We should ban assault weapons — utilized in many mass shootings at homes of worship and different websites throughout the nation — in addition to high-capacity magazines. Final week, the Home of Representatives handed a Invoice to do exactly that. As a matter of conscience and customary sense, the Senate should act as nicely. To face in defence of non secular freedom, we should all stand collectively to ban the weapons that terrorise congregations round our nation.”
A candlelight remembrance vigil was held on the Oak Creek gurdwara on Friday night to mark the memorial anniversary.
Earlier this week, the Sikh Coalition despatched a letter to the White Home, signed by 89 gurdwaras throughout America, urging President Biden to voice his assist for the non-profit safety grant programme enchancment Act, and to make extra federal assets simply accessible to homes of worship that search to safe themselves towards assault and put together for emergencies.
The gurdwara at Wisconsin additionally issued an announcement on the tenth anniversary of the lethal assault. “Ten years in the past, our sangat (neighborhood) suffered essentially the most devastating assault towards Sikhs in our nation’s historical past. This anniversary means many issues to many individuals. Some nonetheless really feel painful loss and absence of their households and households 10 years later. Others have come of age previously decade, studying tips on how to lead and discovering their voice within the shadow of tragedy. And nonetheless others have joined our rising neighborhood and turn into part of our persevering with story. There may be room for this commemoration to carry the distinctive reality that every of us feels.”
“On this solemn anniversary, we stay impressed by the extraordinary resilience of the Oak Creek Sikh neighborhood,” Sikh Coalition government director Anisha Singh mentioned. “We additionally recognise that within the decade since this tragedy, too many different communities — Sikhs and others — have additionally suffered focused violence based mostly on hateful ideologies. We select to honour these we now have misplaced by persevering with to battle for significant coverage change.”
“Within the decade since Oak Creek, not sufficient has modified — and it has been so troublesome to observe different communities undergo what we went by,” mentioned Harpreet Singh Saini, who misplaced his mom Paramjit Kaur within the assault. “We can not and shouldn’t settle for that hate violence is a ‘regular’ a part of life in our nation, which is why all of us should proceed our work in advocacy, training and community-building.”

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