Washington, DC – Earlier today, a shooting occurred at a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, that left seven dead and others wounded. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements in reaction to this tragic event:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair: “I am shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence that targeted the Sikh American community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in their own house of worship. My thoughts are with the victims and their families as we try to understand what led to this tragedy. I have worked closely with the Sikh American community for decades and know of their tremendous contributions to our country. While the exact motivations of the shooter are still unknown, I hope that Americans of all faiths and backgrounds can come together to prevent incidents like this from ever happening again.”
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: “Earlier today, gun tragedy struck our nation once again when a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims affected. No community should have to be faced with such terrible violence, especially one that takes place in a serene and peaceful place like a house of worship. I have been proud to closely work with the Sikh community through my career and am horrified that such senseless violence would fall at their doorstep. Yet, as we struggle to comprehend these tragic events, I know that it will be the strength and the character of the peace-loving Sikh community along with the selflessness of the larger American community that will guide us in these difficult times.”
The shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, left at least seven dead, including the suspected gunman. The local police chief has reported that the authorities are treating the shooting as a “domestic terrorist-type incident.”
Sikhism is the fifth biggest religion in the world with over 25 million followers and 500,000 followers in the United States. Sikh American advocacy groups have reported a sharp rise in bias based attacks after 9/11. The Associated Press reported that that more than 700 such incidents took place in the U.S. over the last decade, which many advocates believe are rooted in anti-Islamic sentiments. While Sikhism is distinct from Islam, Sikhs have long beards and turbans which can lead some to mistake them for Muslims.
P.S. – The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.