Boston bombings: Sikh community in US concerned over backlash
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Having a bitter experience after 9/11 and a target of hate crime, Sikh leaders urged the community to be careful and vigilant against any violence directed against them.
"In the past, any terrorist action which resulted in American lives, have led to negative impact and violence on the Sikhs who are often targeted due to their conspicuous appearance," said Dr Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.
"Many Sikh places of worship have been vandalised and attacked in the aftermath of 9/11 and we fear that the Boston tragedy might trigger another wave of reaction against members of the Sikh community," Singh said.
"The Sikh community joins Americans of all backgrounds in expressing our profound condolences and sympathies to the people of Boston, and the participants of the Boston Marathon, after the horrific and tragic bomb attacks that killed and injured so many people," he said.
The Boston bombing, he said, has shocked the Sikh community which is still recovering from the attack at the Wisconsin Sikh Temple a few months ago.
"We feel the pain and suffering of the victims in Boston," Singh added.
"We are requesting everyone, Sikhs and Non-Sikhs, to come together and hold vigilance to show our resolve and solidarity with those killed and injured," said Inderpal Singh Gadh, chairman of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, a Sikh center in Rockville.
Sikh leaders said this is a time for the community to pull together.
"We are asking all members of the Sikh community to be vigilant. We are urging all Sikh Gurdwaras (temples) to review their security procedures and to be in contact with their local police departments, possibly to request additional patrols," he said.
Meanwhile, many mosques all over the US held special prayers services for the victims of the Boston terrorist bombings. The prayer services were held in congregation during the early yesterday afternoon Sabbath services.
"American Muslim leadership must break this cycle of terrorism, demonisation and more terrorism. Islamophobic media bashing and school bullying is making the Muslim students depressed and angry and a few can resort to violence," said Dr Shaik Ubaid, the New York Co-chair of Muslim Peace coalition USA.
"American foreign policy of waging unjustified war is also a major contributing factor. The Muslim leadership must put in place programs to teach American youth peaceful ways of showing dissent," he said.