Joe Biden (Twitter Photo)
Biden remembers Oak Creek killing of Sikhs, call to stand up against Hate and bigotry
Voorhees (New Jersey), August 6, 2020: US president Joe Biden remembered Oak Creek killings of Sikhs that occurred nine years back.
In his tweet, Biden said, “Nine years ago today, we witnessed an act of unspeakable hate as a white supremacist shot ten people at a Sikh Temple. As we remember those we lost in Oak Creek, we must continue to stand up to hate and bigotry and ensure that all are able to practice their faith without fear.”
The massacre at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, US, on August 5, 2012 was the first time when a white male targeted a Sikh house of prayer in the US.
“But this was not the first time Sikhs have faced violent racism. Hate, bigotry and violence against Sikh-Americans has always been there in the country for more than a century. The crimes against the Sikh religious community have waxed and waned over decades,” a statement issued by American Sikh Council (ASC) says.
“There are many factors for the xenophobia by some, against the very distinct turbaned Sikh men and women. Some of those are; societal factors, the role of media, the role of education in schools, the role of the state, specific laws against hate crimes (which are finally in place) and leadership,” says ASC.
“In part the extreme rhetoric by the current leadership in our country has taken its toll on Sikh Americans. Based on the current data by the FBI, the crimes have risen 300% from 2107 to 2018. Every American President has had a duty to protect all the citizens – equally. Our current President is supposed to do the same, but has failed many minorities, including the Sikh Americans,” ASC says.
“Hate crimes always tend to rise when the economy is in a slump. Under the current circumstances due to the prolonged pandemic our economy is in a recession and could go into a depression making it even more difficult for distinguished religious minorities like the Sikhs to be safe while being in any kind of public space,” says ASC.
“Every year, Sikh Americans remember the members of their faith who became victims of the mass murder at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara. Six innocents were killed, and many others were wounded. The ones whose lives were taken away that fateful day on August 5, 2012 were Satwant Singh Kaleka, Paramjit Kaur, Sita Singh, Sureg Singh Khatta, Ranjit Singh, and Prakash Singh. Punjab Singh was shot and wounded, finally succumbing from his wounds on March 2, 2020. We will never forget them!” says ASC.
ASC Vice President Jasbir Kaur stated, “On this day we pray and remember the victims and the families impacted by the Oak Creek Gurdwara massacre. We hope our nation joins us in remembering this.