U.S. Sikhs Ask for Unity, Work for Increased Understanding

September 17, 2001

Source: Sikh Network

On September 17, 2001, a coalition of American Sikh organizations issued a statement entitled: "Balbir Singh Sodhi Murdered: Sikh-Americans Plead With The Media And Law Enforcement to Increase Public Awareness About Hate Crimes Against The Sikhs." This statement read in part: "On September 15, 2001 America saw its first fatality of the present crisis that was not caused by foreign terrorists. It was the result of one of many hate crimes, which have been rampant since the terrorist attacks last Tuesday. Balbir Singh Sodhi, an American of Sikh extraction, was shot and killed in Mesa, Arizona, while working at the gas station he owned...The murder of Mr. Sodhi adds to a string of hate crimes against Sikh-Americans in the aftermath of Tuesday’s attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon....A website has been created to document these abuses. It may viewed at http://www.sikh.org/hatecrime." The statement continues, "The Sikh-American community nationwide implores the media to help law enforcement authorities curb hate crimes against any and all ethnic minorities." To help curb hate crimes, the Sikh community calls for responsible reporting, which includes coverage of hate crimes against the Sikh community and education of the difference between Osama bin Laden and those who might resemble him. "The religious and cultural identity of Sikhs must be accurately portrayed. Otherwise, it is likely that the numerous attacks against Sikh-Americans will continue."