NEW YORK: The Sikh community in America has been cautioned about any backlash in the Boston Marathon blasts that killed three people and injured more than 170 people.
Condemning the horrific events, Washington-based Sikh Council on Religion and Education on Friday expressed concern that these might lead to negative impact on the Sikhs in the US.
In a statement, Dr. Rajwant Singh, who heads the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, said, “The Sikh community joins Americans of all backgrounds in expressing its profound condolences and sympathies for 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. Our hearts are broken. Our hearts go out to the families of those who lost their lives and those who are injured seriously. We extend our deepest wishes to all who were injured for a full and rapid recovery.”
The Sikh leader said the community was shocked that this unspeakable horrow should happen during the glorious event of the Boston Marathon that celebrates Patriot’s Day, a highly significant day in American history.
“This (event) 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,’’ Dr Singh said.
However, as a note of caution, he added, “In the past, any terrorist act that resulted in loss of American lives has led to negative impact and violence against the Sikhs who are often targeted due to their conspicuous appearance. Many Sikh places of worship were vandalized 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.’’
The Sikh leader said, “We are asking all members of the Sikh community to be vigilant. We are urging all Sikh Gurdwaras to review their security procedures and to be in contact with their local police departments, possibly to request additional patrols. We also recommend that local law enforcement be consulted during the upcoming weekend services as Sikhs gather in large numbers for prayer service (kirtan diwans).’’
The statement said the Sikh leaders was in touch with the White House and will continue to stay in touch as more details about the Boston tragedy emerge.
Inderpal Singh Gadh, Chairman of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, said, “We are requesting everyone, Sikh and non-Sikh, to come together and hold vigilance to show our solidarity with those killed and injured.”