LONDON, UK—Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), a human rights advocacy group, which is spearheading a US wide campaign against religious intolerance following the killing of six Sikhs during a shootout at the Wisconsin Sikh temple, took a strong exception to the burning of the American flag by members of the National Akali Dal in New Delhi.
SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun stated, “It is unfortunate and a step in a wrong direction as this sends out a wrong signal to the US, which is taking every measure to safeguard the interests of the Sikh community after the tragic incident.”
He has asked Sikhs not to stage any protests outside the US Embassy in Delhi or any other place.
“As the attack on Wisconsin Sikh temple suggests, there are already anti-Sikhs sentiments budding in some quarters of American society and the action of burning American flag by National Akali Dal will only fuel such sentiments against the Sikhs, a religious minority,” added attorney Pannun.
In an organized move to raise religious awareness amongst the American community, Sikh Rights Group, SFJ has been joined by the American Gurdwara Prabhandhik Committee (AGPC), Sikh Youth of America (SYA) and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) along with the management committees of various Sikh temples across North America. Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs and SALDEF are amongst those taking the lead on the ground in Wisconsin.
While praising President Obama for ordering the US flags to be flown at half mast until August 10 to honor the victims of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, attorney Pannun stated that the “US administration should take concrete measures for the safety of the religious minorities in the States.”
“A US administration backed educational TV program should continuously make American community aware of the different religious minorities that have become integral part of the society and should also state the consequences of hate crimes, so that it deters future horrific attacks against religious minorities,” suggested attorney Pannun.
SFJ has already announced a $10,000 gallantry award for the officer, Lt Brain Murphy, who risked his life to save the lives of Sikhs in a shootout at the Wisconsin Gurdwara. During a press conference held this morning, Lt Murphy was said to be doing much better today.