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The horrific tragedy in New York and Washington has left all Americans stunned. The scale of the violence and the sheer inhumanity of the act has left us all bewildered and saddened.
Now, as the country braces to deal with the aftermath of this horrid violence, the American Sikh community feels a dual burden. The first and foremost is that shared by all Americans--of coming to terms with the brutal events that have shocked this nation. The second burden, it seems, is particular to those that are dark skinned or that wear turbans.

Shortly after the attacks, speculation began to focus on Bin Laden and his supporters, and media images of the Taliban have become constant on the airwaves. In the days and weeks to come, these images will undoubtedly increase. We do not fault the media in this. They are right to follow the most likely leads in the wake of the greatest act of terrorism on American soil.

What is unfortunate however, is that the images of the likely perpetrators have made suspects and victims of a communities such as the Sikhs, who share absolutely no political, religious, cultural or social links whatsoever to the followers of Bin Ladin or the Taliban.

Some Americans, reeling in anger from the events and seeking an outlet for that anger, are confusing turbans worn by the Taliban and Bin Ladin and his followers in the Middle East with the turbans worn by Sikhs in America.

All over America, reports are coming in of Sikhs and other minorities being physically threatened. Muslims, Arab Americans, Mexicans, we feel solidarity with all of those that are being unfairly targetted as a result of the despicable actions of a very tiny few. Indeed, as numerous and vile as the attacks against Sikhs have been, it appears that innocent Muslims and Arab Americans are being targetted in far greater numbers. It is truly unfortunate that some extremist elements in America are intent on compounding the injustice rather than taking strides to stem it.

Sikhs in New York hold candlelight vigil

USA, New York: September 16, 2001, New York City - Over three thousand Sikh-Americans of New York gathered in Central Park along with their neighbours and fellow Americans for a candlelight vigil to pray for the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. Names of all known victims were recited and prayers offered so their souls may rest in peace. Young and old in turbans sang patriotic songs, seeking unity of all Americans at this tragic moment in our national history.
"The Sikh religion brings an egalitarian message of peace and tolerance for humankind; the Sikh Prophet, Guru Gobind Singh, reminds us that we can find God only through love," said Ajeet Kaur, a public relations expert whose entire office was dislocated upon the demolition of the World Trade Center towers.

I.J. Singh, a professor of anatomical sciences at the New York University, reminded the gathering that "our common enemy is not a particular religion or ethnicity but fanaticism, hatred and intolerance."

Sikh-American leaders present at the vigil vowed to continue their grass roots support to rejuvenate the American spirit torn apart by terrorism. Gurdwaras--the Sikh houses of worship--are holding blood drives, Sikh physicians are working with the injured, Sikh cabdrivers are running free taxicab services to ferry the needy across Manhattan.

"America is our homeland," declared Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa, a lawyer based in New York, "and we must unite with our fellow-Americans to foster love for our country and to take a strong stand against all forms of terrorism."

With press reports by Amardeep Singh, Prabhjot Singh (prabhjot@itsovereigns.com) and Harpreet Singh (hsingh@itsovereigns.com).

This website has been created to assist in the process of documenting the after effects of this tragedy on the Sikh community, and to provide a coordinated centre to focus attention on the unfortunate targetting of the Sikhs. Feedback is welcome.

In solidarity with all communities that are suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy, the creators of this site would like to extend an invitation to members of all affected communities to also use this site to document hate crimes taking place against their communities.


Sikhs worldwide, as can be seen below CONDEMN attacks on Innocent People