“Hate crimes, harassment, bullying, bias against Asian Americans. It seems not to stop,” says Biden
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have commemorated nine years since the horrific 2012 Sikh Temple mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing seven Sikh worshippers.
“Today, we honor everyone impacted by this tragedy,” said Biden during a meeting Thursday with representatives of the Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community, according to a White House readout.
“And we think about all the pain during this pandemic, with the rise of hate crimes, harassment, bullying, and other forms of bias against Asian Americans. It seems not to stop,” he said.
Biden started “by acknowledging that on this day, in 2012, I was with another friend who’s a Sikh. And we were dealing with the 10 people shot in a hateful act of bigotry at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Seven people lost their lives that day.”
The meeting also discussed combating hate crimes against Asians, the White House said.
Six Sikhs were killed in the August 5, 2012, attack in which four people, including a police officer, were injured and one person died last year from the wounds sustained in the shooting.
The shooter, described as a White supremacist, committed suicide by shooting himself when police responded.
“Nine years ago today, we witnessed an act of unspeakable hate as a white supremacist shot 10 people at a Sikh Temple,” said Biden in an earlier tweet.
“As we remember those we lost in Oak Creek, we must continue to stand up to hate and bigotry and ensure that all are able to practice their faith without fear.”
Sikh community leaders have welcomed Biden’s remarks on the anniversary of the Oak Creek gurdwara attack.
Sikh Council on Religion and Education Chairman, Rajwant Singh said: “We are thankful to President Biden for his compassion and a strong stand against hate and violence.
Read: Biden, Harris commemorate 2012 gurdwara mass killing (August 6, 2021)
“The Sikh community was shaken by this tragedy and our community still is concerned about the hate-filled rhetoric being condoned by some political interest groups.”
Gurwin Singh Ahuja, the co-founder and the executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, said, “Violence against Sikhs had been on the rise for several years.
“After 9/11 many Americans associated a turban and beard with terrorism and an alarming number of people turned to racism and violence against our community.”
The “National Sikh Campaign is committed to creating positive awareness about Sikhs in this country,” he added.