Biden, Harris commemorate gurdwara mass killing anniversary: Sikh groups condemn hate politics and racism

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris commemorated the ninth anniversary of the mass shooting at a gurdwara in Oak Creek that took the lives of seven Sikhs, with Biden telling Americans to “stand up to hate and bigotry”

Arul Louis Aug 06, 2021
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Biden and Harris

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris commemorated the ninth anniversary of the mass shooting at a gurdwara in Oak Creek that took the lives of seven Sikhs, with Biden telling Americans to “stand up to hate and bigotry”.

The commemoration took place on Thursday during a meeting held on Thursday with representatives of the Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community during which they discussed combating hate crimes against Asians, the White House said.

Six Sikhs were killed in the August 5, 2012, attack in which four people, including a police officer, were injured and one person died last year from the wounds sustained in the shooting.

The shooter, described as white supremacist, committed suicide by shooting himself when police responded.

Sikh community leaders have welcomed an earlier tweet by Biden on the anniversary of the Oak Tree gurdwara attack.

Biden said in his tweet, “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.”

Sikh Council on Religion and Education Chairman Rajwant Singh said, “We are thankful to President Biden for his compassion and a strong stand against hate and violence. The Sikh community was shaken by this tragedy and our community still is concerned about the hate-filled rhetoric being condoned by some political interest groups.”

Gurwin Singh Ahuja, the co-founder and the executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, said, “Violence against Sikhs had been on the rise for several years. After 9/11 many Americans associated a turban and beard with terrorism and an alarming number of people turned to racism and violence against our community.”

The “National Sikh Campaign is committed to creating positive awareness about Sikhs in this country,” he added.(SAM)

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