IN a clear case of racism and home grown terrorism six innocent Sikhs were killed and three wounded in a deliberate killing by a white man .This is not the first time that Sikhs have been targetted by white Americans.
Monday, August 06, 2012
Seven dead in shooting at Sikh temple in Wisconsin
By Brendan O'Brien
OAK CREEK, Wisconsin (Reuters) – A gunman killed six people and critically wounded three at a Sikh temple during Sunday services before police shot him dead in an attack that authorities are treating as an act of domestic terrorism.
|A distraught women is helped to a car outside of the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin August 5, 2012. A shooting during Sunday services at the temple left at least seven people dead, including a gunman, and at least three critically wounded, police and hospital officials said. REUTERS/Tom Lynn
Witnesses said the gunman opened fire when he entered the kitchen at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee at about 10:30 a.m. CDT (1530 GMT) as women prepared a Sunday meal, sending worshippers fleeing to escape the barrage.
The suspect was a bald, white man, approximately 40 years old, said Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities did not release his identity.
Four people were shot dead inside the sprawling temple. Three, including the gunman, were killed outside.
The gunman ambushed and shot a police officer who was responding to a 911 call and helping a shooting victim, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. A second officer shot and killed the gunman.
Edwards said he had no identification for the shooter nor information on what kind of weapon or weapons he had. The victims’ identities and descriptions were not made public.
The wounded officer, a 20-year veteran, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Hospital officials said two other victims, also in critical condition, were being treated.
Law enforcement personnel surrounded and searched a gray, two-storey house in the Cudahy neighbourhood presumed to be the residence of the gunman on Sunday evening. Generators and floodlights were set up along the middle-class block.
A police source confirmed that a search warrant had been issued for the house, and a bomb squad was on the scene.
Temple member and U.S. Army Reserve combat medic Jagpal Singh, 29, said people who were at the service when the shooting broke out described to him a scene of chaos and confusion.
Worshippers scrambled to escape the gunfire, but some tragically ran in the wrong direction. Others survived the rampage by locking themselves in bathrooms, he said.
Singh said the eyewitnesses described the shooter as a white man who was either shave-headed or bald.
Turban-wearing Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the probe into shootings, Edwards said.
“We’re treating this as a domestic terrorist incident,” he told reporters. Officials had no details about a possible motive.
Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital said three male victims included one who had been shot in the abdomen, one in the extremities and face, and a third who was hit in the neck.
The Oak Creek shooting was the latest in a series of suburban U.S. gun rampages. Organizations fighting gun violence rate Wisconsin’s gun safety laws from low to moderate. There are no limits on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, nor on the possession or transfer of assault weapons, according to the Law Centre to Prevent Gun Violence.
Sunday’s attack came just over two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a theatre in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58. In January 2011, then-congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt in which six people were killed and 13 were wounded in Tucson, Arizona.
”The gunman is worse than the one at the theatre a couple of weeks ago because he targeted an entire community,” said Jagatjit Sidhu, who was among dozens of temple members and onlookers gathered near the sealed off temple.
Some witnesses at the scene had said there was more than one gunman, but Edwards said reports of multiple gunmen were common in incidents that involved only one shooter.
”We believe there was one but we can’t be sure,” he said. Officers finished sweeping the temple only after hours of searching, and Edwards said the investigation was just starting.
President Barack Obama said he was “deeply saddened” and pledged his administration’s commitment to fully investigate the shooting.
Obama was briefed by counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and FBI director Bob Mueller and told the situation at the temple was “under control.”
“The president said that he wanted to make sure that as we denounce this senseless act of violence we also underscore how much our country has been enriched by our Sikh community,” the White House said in a statement.
SIKHS IN U.S.
The Indian embassy in Washington said it was in touch with the National Security Council about the shooting and an Indian diplomat had been sent to the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
The Sikh faith is the fifth-largest in the world, with more than 30 million followers. It includes belief in one God and that the goal of life is to lead an exemplary existence.
The temple in Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee, was founded in October 1997 and has a congregation of 350 to 400 people. There are an estimated 500,000 or more Sikhs in the United States.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001 by Islamist militants, Sikhs have sometimes been confused publicly with Muslims because of their turban headdress and beards.
Members of the Milwaukee Sikh community complained to police and a state representative last year about an upturn in robberies and vandalism at Sikh-owned gas stations and stores.
In September 2001, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot dead by a man who was said to be seeking revenge on Muslims for the hijacked plane attacks on the United States.
Phoenix police said they were in contact with local Sikh leaders and had increased patrol presence around the three temples in the city until further notice.
New York police said they were increasing security at Sikh temples as a precaution. There are no known threats against temples in the city, they said in a statement.
Sapreet Kaur, executive director of the Sikh Coalition civil rights organization, said Sikhs had been the target of several hate-crime shootings in the United States in recent years.
”The natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case,” he said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Paul Eckert and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Writing by Ian Simpson and Chris Michaud; Editing by Anthony Boadle)
Local Sikhs react to shooting
Faithful pray for victims
Updated: Sunday, 05 Aug 2012, 9:52 PM CDT
Published : Sunday, 05 Aug 2012, 7:27 PM CDT
Kelly Schlicht, FOX 11 News
MENASHA – Local Sikhs at this temple in Menasha cut their worship services short Sunday, their private prayers and frightened concerns going to those who may have been involved in the shooting in Oak Creek.
“Maybe my friend’s there, maybe my uncle’s there. I don’t know what happened there but I’m begging right now please help us and stay with us,” asked Bhagwant Singh Balli, the priest at the the Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley.
Bhagwant Singh Balli says members of the congregation found out about the attack on the temple near Milwaukee shortly after it happened. He and other temple leaders broke the news to the faithful.
“We heard the news and we were very saddened. We shortened the service and encouraged all members to go home and be in a safe place and pray to god that everything works out,” said Kamaljit Singh Paul, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Menasha temple.
The priest at the temple in Menasha says he’s been here for about six years and they’ve never received any threats or had any acts of violence.
As a precaution, Menasha police were called to check on the temple Sunday morning. Everything was ok.
A Sikh organization in Milwaukee says after the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, four acts of violence were reported against Sikhs in the Milwaukee area. Local Sikhs want others to know their beliefs, and their message of non-violence.
“I want to explain to everyone that we are not Muslim. We are Sikh community,” explained Balli, pointing out a common misconception. “We try to live peacefully and we give them message to live peace. This is our main congregation meaning.”
The leaders of this temple say the word “Sikh” means student—One who is always learning. Now they wait anxiously to learn the full impact of this tragic situation on their community statewide.
There’s a hotline number for family and friends of potential victims to call for more information. That’s 1-888-298-1964.
Local Sikh leaders say they’ll be meeting tomorrow morning to discuss safety issues for their temple. They’re not sure when services will resume as usual.
7 killed as gunman opens fire at Wisconsin gurdwara
12 Kids Taken Hostage, Say Reports
TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES
Random American gun violence erupted in a Sikh gurdwara outside Milwaukee in Wisconsin on a quiet Sunday morning, claiming the lives of at least seven people. Early reports spoke of a white Caucasian male who opened fire indiscriminately amid reports that 12 children had been taken hostage. At least 20 people were injured, three of them critically.
The gunman was shot dead by the police who rushed to the scene after 911 calls. “An officer arrived on the scene, engaged the shooter and was shot multiple times,” Greenfield police chief Bradley Wentlandt said. “That shooter was put down.”
Preliminary reports said there were at least three gunmen involved but the police said they have not yet identified if there was any additional shooter. Wentlandt said four people were gunned down inside the gurdwara while three, including the shooter, died outside the shrine. The identity of the victims were not immediately known.
President Barack Obama was briefed by his counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan on the situation.
The Indian embassy in Washington DC said it was seized of the situation and was in touch with the National Security Council. “Our consulate general in Chicago too has been in close touch with the local authorities to monitor the situation. An official has been deputed to visit the site to ascertain the situation on the spot,” the embassy said in a statement.
Sikhs Seethe Over Gurdwara Attack In US
One Of The Dead Believed To Be A Priest From Delhi Visiting Wisconsin
Sikhs have been targets of random, occasional violence and discrimination in the aftermath of 9/11 although the Obama White House has engaged more with the Sikh community than any other US administration in history.
Obama himself has been deeply respectful of the faith and has hosted events to honour the Sikh Guru Nanak Dev and celebrate other Sikh events. But things have been spotty at the workaday level with occasional complaints from Sikh organizations about discrimination.
Sikhs reacted angrily to the shooting with some snide comments about white, majority terrorism.
“Waiting for a US news network to get the guts to call this what it is — home-grown terrorism,” said Gagan Singh who tweets under the handle þ@urbanturbanguy.
Scores of people had gathered at the gurdwara in Oak Creek, built about 6-7 years ago, on Sunday morning when a gunman opened indiscriminate fire.
On Sundays, typically Sikh temples across the US host a langar to serve free lunch to people of all faiths.
The local police chief described the scene as chaotic and fluid and urged the media not to broadcast photos or video showing tactical units, which could put officers in danger.
One of the dead was reported to be a priest visiting from Delhi but this could not be confirmed.
TERROR AT TEMPLE
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in hate crimes in the US since 9/11 attacks as community members were mistaken for Muslims; over 700 incidents recorded
Sept 2001 | A Sikh gas station owner shot dead in Mesa, Arizona July 2004 | A Sikh severely beaten outside a New York restaurant March 2011 | Two Sikhs fired upon in Sacramento, leaving one dead and the other in critical condition
A Sikh MTA employee suckerpunched in a moving train in NY by a man who accused him of being related to Osama bin Laden
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