Religious groups are calling for tolerance after six people were killed in a shooting attack at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.
The Foundation for Ethnic Under-standing, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbis for Human Rights–North America, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism and other Jewish groups joined with Shoulder to Shoulder, a national religious, faith-based and interfaith organization, to encourage Americans to join in special services with their local Sikh communities in the wake of the Aug. 5 shooting outside of Milwaukee.
Along with the deaths, at least three people, including a police officer, were injured in the attack. The gunman, who was killed by police, was identified as the former leader of a white supremacist heavy metal band.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the violence and reached out to the Sikh community. “Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, ADL and law enforcement officials have documented many apparent ‘backlash crimes’ directed at Muslim, Sikh, and Arab Americans,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “We have raised concern about a spike in bigotry against Muslims and others perceived to be of Middle Eastern origin. This attack is another gruesome reminder that bigotry and hate against those whose religion makes them ‘different’ or ‘other’ can have deadly consequences.”
The U.S. Department of Justice has investigated more than 800 incidents since 9/11 involving violence, threats, vandalism and arson against Arab Americans, Muslims, Sikhs, South-Asian Americans and other individuals perceived to be of Middle Eastern origin. — jta