Sunday, Aug. 5th, we were again jolted by news of another deadly mass shooting. This time the location was suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the victims were worshipers at the local Sikh Gurudwara or Temple. Six members of that community, along with the shooter, were killed.
Although the word "senseless" is again being used to describe this shooting, this is an unfortunate usage of the word. No violent attack on a faith community, or any community for that matter, makes sense. We don't yet know the motives of the killer, but there was and is no justification for an attack, whether the attacker thought he was attacking Muslims or Sikhs. It is time for us as a broader community to first of all say no to violence of any kind in our communities. We must also say no to the kind of bigotry that can lead to such acts of violence. There is an unfortunate stream of anti-immigrant and anti-foreign nativism present in America right now. We must say no to it as well.
So, as we stand with our Sikh neighbors, let us remember that this attack on their community is an attack on all communities. Violence has been on the decline, but it hasn't disappeared. We must be vigilant and we must work together to eliminate violence and stereotyping of the other.
Because the Troy-area Interfaith Group (TIG) includes members of the local Sikh community, we offer to them our support and seek to stand with them in this time of grief and shock. We speak not only for our TIG members, but for our own faith communities, in saying we send our thoughts and prayers to the members of the Milwaukee Sikh community, as well as other Sikhs around the country.