10th anniversary of Wisconsin gurdwara attack: Biden reaches out to Sikh-Americans

Washington, DC: On the 10th anniversary of the attack on a gurdwara in Wisconsin, President Joe Biden condemned the deadliest attack so far on Sikh-Americans, expressed solidarity with the community, categorically blamed it on White Supremacists, and called for more steps to reduce gun violence, protect places of worship, and combat domestic hate and terrorism in all its forms.

In a statement, Biden said that when generations of Sikh-Americans in Oak Creek had constructed their own place of worship after years of renting local halls, it was a sacred place of their own and a connection shared with the broader community. “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 at the gurdwara and began shooting.”

Referring to First Lady Jill Biden, the president said that both of them knew that days like these bring back the pain like it happened yesterday, and mourned with the victims’ families, the survivors, and the community devastated by the heinous act.

Placing the attack within a wider context of increasing hate crimes in the US, the president said that the Oak Creek shooting was the deadliest attack on Sikh-Americans in our nation’s history. “Tragically, attacks on our nation’s houses of worship have only become more common over the past decade. It is up to all of us to deny this hate safe harbor. No one should fear for their life when they bow their head in prayer or go about their lives in America.”

But while expressing his grief, the president also lauded the Sikh community in Oak Creek for showing the way. “After the attack, the Sikh community returned to their gurdwara and insisted on cleaning it themselves. The son of one of the victims became the first Sikh in American history to testify before Congress, successfully calling for the federal government to track hate crimes against Sikhs and other minority groups. Every year, the congregation now hosts an annual memorial run to honor the victims. The event bears the words Charhdi Kala, meaning eternal optimism.”


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