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


NEW DELHI: Marks the 10th year of the attack on Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin, USA, President Joe Biden on Friday described the shooting as “the deadliest on Sikhism Americans in our nation’s history”.
It has been a decade since a gunman opened fire on a gurdwara just as worshipers were preparing for Sunday services. Six community members – Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suveg Singh Khattra and Satwant Singh Kaleka – were killed; the seventh, Baba Punjab Singh, battled his wounds many years later.
A Presidential Statement Biden reads, “When generations of Sikh Americans in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, built their own place of worship after years of renting out local halls, it was a sacred place to them and a shared connection. share with the wider community. That sense of peace and familiarity was shattered on the morning of August 5, 2012, when a white supremacist armed with a semi-automatic handgun came to Gurdwara and started shooting.
“The gunman killed six people and wounded four that day, as did another victim who survived the wound only to fight them years later. (First Lady) Jill (Biden) and I know that days like today bring pain like it was yesterday, and we mourn with the victims’ families, survivors and affected communities. devastated by this heinous act.
“Tragically, attacks on our nation’s houses of worship have only become more common over the past decade. We must all reject this obnoxious safe harbor. No one has to fear for their life as they bow their heads in prayer or go about their life in America. ”
President Biden also praised the Sikh community and said Oak Creek showed the way. “After the attack, the Sikh community returned to their gurdwara and insisted on cleaning it up themselves. The son of one of the victims has become the first Sikh in US history to testify before Congress, successfully calling for the federal government to track down hate crimes against Sikhs and minorities. Others. The congregation now organizes an annual memorial run in honor of the victims. This event carries the word Charhdi Kala, which means eternal optimism”.
The statement went on to address the need to continue to take steps to reduce gun violence and keep the American people safe. “We must do more to protect places of worship and defeat domestic terrorism and hatred in all its forms, including the poison of white supremacy. We must ban assault weapons – used in many mass shootings at churches and other locations around the country – as well as high-volume magazines. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a Bill to do just that. For the sake of conscience and common sense, the Senate must also act. To protect religious freedom, we must all work together to ban weapons that terrorize congregations across our country.”
A candlelit remembrance vigil was held at gurdwara Oak Creek on Friday night to mark the memorial.
Earlier this week, the Sikh Alliance sent a letter to The White Housesigned by 89 gurdwaras across the United States, urged President Biden to speak out in favor of the Act to Improve the Nonprofit Security Grants Program and make more federal resources more accessible to homes Worshipers seek to protect themselves against attack and prepare for emergencies.
Gurdwara of Wisconsin also released a statement on the 10th anniversary of the deadly attack. “Ten years ago, our sangat (community) suffered the most devastating attack against the Sikhs in our nation’s history. This anniversary means a lot to many people. Some people still feel painful loss and absence from their household and family 10 years later. Others have matured over the past decade, learning to lead and finding their voice in the shadow of tragedy. And still others have joined our growing community and become part of our continuing story. There is room for this celebration to preserve the unique truth that each of us perceives. ”
“On this solemn anniversary, we are still inspired by the extraordinary resilience of the Sikh community in Oak Creek,” said Sikh Coalition chief executive Anisha Singh. “We also recognize that in the decade since this tragedy, too many other communities – Sikhs and others – have also suffered from targeted violence based on hateful ideologies. . We choose to honor those we have lost by continuing to fight for meaningful policy change.”
Harpreet Singh Saini, who lost her mother Paramjit Kaur in the attack said: “In the decade since Oak Creek, not enough has changed – and it is difficult to see what other communities go through. we have been through. “We cannot and should not accept that hate violence is a ‘normal’ part of life in our country, which is why we must all continue our advocacy, education, and advocacy work. education and community building.”





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