Years after mass shooting, Sikhs continue to promote peace


Four years after a white nationalist opened fire on the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, the Sikh’s continue to promote peace.

From their experience, and the deaths of six loved ones, the Sikh’s have worked hard to promote peace and understanding of theirs and other faith groups. Sikhs are often confused as Muslims, which some say lead to hate crimes.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The challenge, Ji said, is to teach people that Sikhs who wear turbans and have long beards do not share a religious or cultural ideology with followers of Islam, a misconception shared by some intolerant Americans.

“They’ve shot them, they’ve thrown stones, they’ve made remarks to them,” Ji said. “Some of us, our people, are not feeling safe.”

In a 2015 survey commissioned by the National Sikh Campaign, 60% of the roughly 1,150 people questioned said they knew nothing about Sikhs. For the first time, the FBI in 2015 tracked the number of anti-Sikh hate crime incidents, reporting six of them across the country. That figure is dwarfed by the number of hate crime incidents reported against blacks (1,745), Jews (664), whites (613) and Muslims (257).

Parminder Singh, a trustee at the Oak Creek Sikh temple, said residents in many areas of greater Milwaukee have long been understanding of Sikhs. But Sikh children, he said, are the ones who most often face challenges today.

“Some people who live in Franklin, or who live in Oak Creek, they live in a community where they’re fine,” Parminder said. “But a lot of kids, when they go to school, they have a lot of problems. Some kids don’t want to tell their parents what happened.”

For more on how the Sikhs promote peace, visit Milwaukee Journal Sentinel