my husband and i attended a candlelight vigil at the gurdwara of rochester today, in honor of the victims of the massacre at a sikh temple in wisconsin. as pakistani-american muslims we have deep connections to the sikh community – ethnically, culturally but also on account of being targeted for hate crimes. in this news report, the reporters talked about sikhs and muslims being “misunderstood” (not my word) instead of what i said about racism and the need to stand in solidarity against hate but here it is.
another report about the vigil by YNN, which includes some of my comments, here.
Penfield, N.Y. – Four days after a man shot and killed six worshiping Sikhs at a Wisconsin temple, Rochester area Sikhs held a vigil in their honor.
Around 50 to 75 people, Sikhs and non-Sikhs, came to the Gurdwara of Rochester in Penfield on Wednesday.
In a service, the attendees sang songs and prayed for the victims and their families. Afterwards, they held a candlelight vigil outside.
Harbhajan Purewal is a trustee of the temple and says that his community was shocked by the shootings.
“There is no logic,” Purewal says. “There is no reason and someone just does something like this, it’s not understandable. It’s very sad.”
At the same time, he says Sikhs across the U.S. have worried about attacks like the one in Wisconsin ever since 9/11.
“Especially after 9/11, because [a Sikh] in Arizona got shot right after 9/11,” Purewal says. “Communities have similar fears, but it’s not to the level that they worry day-to-day.”
On Wednesday, there were also several people of differing faiths and backgrounds at the vigil. Mara Ahmed is a Muslim and she wanted to show the Sikhs her support.
“As a Muslim, I feel very close to the Sikh community. Especially after 9/11, I think Muslims and Sikhs have become the prime targets of hate crimes in America,” says Ahmed. “I feel a sense of closeness and solidarity with them.”
The temple says that the Wisconsin shootings are another example of how “blind hatred can make a man do violent acts of such proportion, and shatter so many lives.” A temple spokesperson says that such acts remind them that “followers of different religions need to have better mutual understanding”.