We at The Interfaith Center of New York join other Americans of faith and no faith in grieving for the victims of the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Our hearts go out to all of the families and community of Oak Creek, and to the family of the police officer seriously wounded as he tended to one of the earlier victims of the shooter. It is a core treasure of American democracy that all peoples have the right to pray as they choose. That someone would breach the peace of sacred space with such profound harm is shocking.
The Interfaith Center of New York offers its deepest condolences to our friends in the Sikh community, and we stand ready to help in any way we can. We offer our solidarity as this crime seems likely motivated by hate and calls to mind the ongoing current of vigilantism that has been leveled at the Sikh community for many years. We will join others around the country seeking to tamp down the fires of discrimination, religious and otherwise, and challenge all who seek to fan those fires – whether out of a personal vendetta or out of a tragically misguided reach for personal gain.
We think of the Sikh faith’s understanding of the oneness of humanity, belief in the equality of all people, embrace of non-violence, and commitments to service. We were not surprised to learn that even amidst their grief and shock, members of the Sikh community in Oak Creek served food and water to the media covering this terrible tragedy.