US Sikhs feeling vulnerable amid anti-Islam rhetoric, but joining Muslims to fight backlash | Fox News

Have not heard of recent similar attacks here on Sikhs but likely that there are some:

Pradeep Kaleka spent several days after 9/11 at his father’s South Milwaukee gas station, fearing that his family would be targeted by people who assumed they were Muslim. No, Kaleka explained on behalf of his father, who wore a turban and beard and spoke only in broken English, the family was Sikh, a southeast Asian religion based on equality and unrelated to Islam.

But amid a new wave of anti-Islamic sentiment since the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Kaleka is vowing to take an entirely different approach.

“For us it does not matter who they’re targeting,” said Kaleka, a former Milwaukee police officer and teacher whose father was one of six people killed in 2012 when a white supremacist opened fire at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. “This time we cannot differentiate ourselves; when hate rhetoric is being spewed we cannot be on the sidelines.”

Across the U.S., Sikhs and Muslims are banding together to defend their respective religions. Someone bent on harming Muslims wouldn’t understand — or care — about the distinction between the two faiths, they say, and both also deserve to live in peace.

So they plan educational sessions and rallies. They successfully pushed the FBI to track hate crimes against Sikhs. They speak to lawmakers and support each other’s legal action, including a lawsuit filed over a New York City police surveillance program targeting New Jersey Muslims.

“We are in this fight together,” said Gurjot Kaur, a senior staff attorney at The Sikh Coalition, founded the night of Sept. 11.

Sikhism, a monotheistic faith, was founded more than 500 years ago in Southeast Asia and has roughly 27 million followers worldwide, most of them in India.

There are more than 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S. Male followers often cover their heads with turbans — which are considered sacred — and refrain from shaving their beards.

Reports of bullying, harassment and vandalism against Sikhs have risen in recent weeks.

Last week, a Sikh temple in Orange County, California, was vandalized, as was a truck in the parking lot by someone who misspelled the word “Islam” and made an obscene reference to ISIS.

Source: Sikhs feeling vulnerable amid anti-Islam rhetoric, but joining Muslims to fight backlash | Fox News

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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