Gurudwara in California vandalized

The word ‘Terrorist’ sprayed on walls

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Less than a week after the one-year anniversary of last year’s tragedy at a Sikh gurudwara in a suburb of Milwaukee, another gurudwara has been hit by a criminal of a different kind.

The Sikh Gurudwara of Riverside, in Jurupa Valley, California, has become the target of an alleged “hate crime”. Someone sprayed the word “terrorist” at two places on the large brick wall surrounding the temple.

“Since 9/11, everyone thinks we’re terrorists. I’d invite those people to the temple and see what we’re about. I think they would learn what a loving religion we are,” Bhupinder Kaur, wife of the gurudwara’s high priest Anantvir Singh, was quoted as saying in reports.

Singh said that the gurudwara’s surrounding wall has been a target of graffiti artists countless times since the temple’s opening in 1989, but this is the first instance of anything ethnically demeaning or slanderous being scrawled on it.

“This is definitely a hate crime. It was very purposely targeted toward a minority community.” said Birpal Kaur, community relations manager of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Los Angeles.

Hate crimes can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, with the latter bringing one to four years of imprisonment with it if the suspect is found guilty. Currently, no arrests have been made, but once a suspect is apprehended, he will be handed over to the district attorney’s office for further proceedings.

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