US community groups seek hate crime hearings after gurdwara shooting incident

In the aftermath of the shooting inside a gurdwara in Wisconsin, a group of more than 150 organisations have called for a Congressional hearing on hate crimes.

chandigarh Updated: Aug 23, 2012 11:30 IST
PTI
PTI
Agencies

In the aftermath of the shooting inside a gurdwara in Wisconsin, a group of more than 150 organisations have called for a Congressional hearing on hate crimes.


Six Sikh worshipers, including four Indian nationals, died when an ex-army man went on a shooting spree inside the gurdwara in Oak Creek city in Wisconsin on August 5.

While the police is yet to determine the reason for the shooting, Sikh advocacy groups have termed it a hate crime.

Led by Washington-based Sikh Coalition, the 150 organisations representing a wide range of faith based and rights advocacy groups, yesterday sent a letter to the senate judiciary committee to conduct hearings on hate crimes and the proliferation of hate groups in the US.

Citing the massacre of Sikh worshipers in Oak Creek, and a string of attacks on Muslim communities nationwide during the last month, the letter notes that hate violence continues to affect the lives of thousands of individuals due to their race, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, and immigration status.

"We want to do everything in our power to make sure what happened in Oak Creek never happens to anyone again," said Rajdeep Singh, director of Law and Policy for the Sikh Coalition.

"Given the persistence of hate crimes and sheer number of hate groups in the United States, we want our policymakers to be proactive about uprooting bigotry in the United States.

"As First Lady Michele Obama visits the aggrieved families in Oak Creek this Thursday, we hope that Congress will do its part by looking at ways to improve our nation's hate crime laws," Singh said.

"During the last month alone, six worshipers at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin were massacred by an attacker with known ties to hate groups, and approximately ten Islamic institutions and Muslim communities in seven states have experienced attacks including vandalism, a suspicious burning, shootings, and the desecration of religious sanctuaries," the letter said.

First Published: Aug 22, 2012 14:26 IST