For Immediate Release
(New York, New York) August 5, 2012 – The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh American civil rights organization in the U.S., has started an emergency response in the wake of the tragic shootings in Oak Creek, Wisconsin this morning.
With multiple news outlets reporting varying facts on what transpired at the Sikh temple (or Gurdwara) earlier today it remains clear that this story remains an evolving and fluid situation.
“The Sikh Coalition’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the shooting, the Sikh community of Milwaukee, and the larger community of Wisconsin, which we know will stand with their Sikh neighbors with their support and prayers during this very trying time,” said Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur.
The Gudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin was founded in 1997 and had over 400 peaceful worshipers that worked and lived in the greater Milwaukee area. The Gudwara, known as being a wonderful neighbor, had come to represent the valued contributions of the Sikh faith in a community where Sikhism was understood to be another contributing fabric in the cloth of American plurality.
"I just want to say this temple was built a number of years ago and there have never been any problems with this temple," Oak Creek Alderman Dan Jakubczyk said. "They've been a plus to this city and to my district.”
With over 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with over 500,000 followers in the U.S. For more information on Sikhism please visit our website here.
The Sikh Coaliton has been in touch with both the FBI’s Civil Rights Division and the White House and both have promised to continue to be in touch with our staff as they monitor the situation closely. Additionally, the Sikh Coalition is in direct contact with a Trustee of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in order to learn more about the shooting before taking further action.
“There have been multiple hate crime shootings within the Sikh community in recent years and the natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case. Let’s let law enforcement investigate the case and as new facts emerge the dialogue can change. Americans died today in a senseless act of violence and Americans of all faiths should stand in unified support with their Sikh brothers and sisters,” said Sapreet Kaur.