MPAC Offers Condolences to Sikh Community Following Shooting at Wisconsin Temple

August 5, 2012


MPAC offers its condolences to the Sikh community on this sad day when at least seven people, including the gunman, were killed following a shooting at an Oak Creek, WI, Sikh temple (Gurdwara).

SEE: “Gunman, Six Others Dead at Wisconsin Sikh Temple” (CNN.com)

At a press conference this afternoon, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said authorities are treating the shooting as a "domestic terrorist-type incident," adding that the FBI will head the investigation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of the victims,” said MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati. “This is a horrific crime, and we hope the police and FBI will be able to bring this case to a close.”

MPAC has reached out to its partners at the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) and The Sikh Coalition in Washington, DC, and New York to offer our sympathies and assistance. We stand united with our brothers and sister in faith.

With more than 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with more than 500,000 followers in the U.S.

The Gurdwara in Oak Creek was founded in 1997 and was home to more than 400 worshipers that worked and lived in the greater Milwaukee area. The Sikh Coalition said the Gurdwara 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.

The Sikh community has set up a task force to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that the Sikh community is reassured of its safety.

If you feel threatened or want more information, please call the Sikh national helpline at 855-US-UMEED.

We will continue to watch the news as the story unfolds.

The following is the Islamic Society of Milwaukee's statement on the shooting:

The Islamic Society of Milwaukee Condemns the Attack on the Sikh Temple

The Islamic Society of Milwaukee condemns the cowardly and senseless attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and expresses its condolences to the families of the victims. We also pray for those who were injured, including law enforcement personnel from Oak Creek whose courageous actions prevented a much larger tragedy from taking place. We stand in complete solidarity with our Sikh brothers and sisters during this tragic time and we offer any help we can, including opening the Islamic Community Center to the Sikh community while their Temple is closed during the investigations being conducted by law enforcement agencies. We call on law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to quickly investigate the background of the attacker and to try and determine why he committed such a heinous crime. In recent years, the inflammatory and divisive rhetoric that we hear on a daily basis from certain media personalities and elected officials has led to an upsurge in hate crimes and violent acts. We will await the investigation of law enforcement officials to determine if today’s attack fits into this same pattern.

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