NEW YORK—Following the attack on a masjid in Quebec, security has been beefed up at Muslim places of worship across Canada and United States. Gurdwaras across the Continent have too been appealed to remain vigilant. United Sikhs, a Sikh advocacy group based out of New York in a press release on January 31 also urged Sikh worshippers across the nation to be on high alert.
“Given the current climate of our country, and other parts of the world, we advise Gurdwaras to step up their security measures, especially following Sunday’s deadly mosque attack in Quebec, ” Gurvinder Singh, Director for the United Sikh said.
“Since the 9/11 attacks, Sikhs have often been harassed and/or victimized by people who mistakenly perceive them as an accessible proxy for the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. The result of which is that turbaned Sikhs in America and Canada have been victims of racial violence and have had their identity challenged by calls for immigrant groups to assimilate into Western societies,” said United Sikhs.
“The anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner political rhetoric, combined with this week’s terrorist attack in Canada have many living in fear of additional hate crimes and other attacks.”
On August 5, 2012, a deadly shooting in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek left six Sikhs left when a white supremacist opened fire at the local Gurdwara there. A police officer Lieutenant Brian Murphy, was seriously hurt before he took down the armed gunman. The attack was the deadliest against the US Sikh community, but it was not the first or the last. Sikhs have been targeted physically post the 9/11 attacks. Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh from Mesa, AZ, was gunned down shortly after 9/11 when a racist targeted him for his physical appearance.
United Sikhs has appealed to Sikhs across US and Canada to report anything suspicious. “If you see something, say something. If you suspect something suspicious call 911,” Singh added.
United Sikhs offers ‘Emergency Preparedness’ workshop for Gurdwaras and community centers. These workshops focus on basic training on active shooter situations, emergency preparedness for the vulnerable members of the Sikh community and guidance on how to develop and maintain an emergency action plan for the Gurdwaras.
In the past, UNITED SIKHS has collaborated with the US Department of Homeland Security to conduct similar trainings in the New Jersey. “To bring these workshops to your Gurdwaras please reach out to us at [email protected],” the press release stated.