ISNA Offers Condolences After Tragic Shooting at Sikh Temple in Wisconsin
(Washington, DC – August 6, 2012) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is deeply saddened by news of a shooting yesterday at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who lost their lives and to those who are suffering from critical injuries. Reports indicate that the gunman took the lives of 6 people and injured three others before being shot himself. ISNA is grateful for the heroic police officers who risked their lives to put an end to the shooting, and prays for the swift recovery of the officer who was shot multiple times in the process.
ISNA Vice President Azhar Azeez said this morning, â€œOn behalf of ISNA, I offer my deepest condolences for those who lost their lives yesterday in the tragic attack. We stand in solidarity with the Sikh community during this difficult time and pray that such a tragedy is never repeated again.â€
While the attackerâ€™s motives are still unknown, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards referred to the incident as an act of domestic terrorism, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating.
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, ISNA National Director for Interfaith and Community Alliances, personally conveyed ISNAâ€™s condolences to leaders from the Sikh community. For the past several years, ISNA has worked very closely with them to promote respect and understanding toward minority communities in our country.
Numerous Sikhs have faced discrimination and violence since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Swarnjit S. Arora of the local Sikh Religious Society told the Journal Sentinel that at least four acts of violence against Sikhs have occurred in the Milwaukee area alone.
In April, 90 members of Congress signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller, asking them to record and track hate crimes directed at members of the Sikh community. In recent years, the Department of Justice has worked to monitor and reduce hate crimes against American Muslims, and ISNA fully supports any efforts to track hate crimes that specifically target members of the Sikh faith. ISNA is part of an ongoing dialogue with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies to reduce hate crimes against South Asians, Arabs, Muslims, and Sikhs.