Ten years after Oak Brook shooting, Sikh community members and experts push for improved policies, resources


Wisconsin native Pardeep Kaleka was driving to a Sikh temple in Wisconsin when he learned there were Active shooter in gurdwara — where his parents and several other members of the congregation were preparing a community meal.

His mother survived the August 5, 2012 attack, but his father satwant kaleika, No.he is one of them seven innocent believers killed by shooter Links to white nationalist neo-Nazi groups.

“This tragedy has been heard not only in America, but all over the world,” Caleka said in a statement Friday. vigil commemorative event. “It resonates with every Sikh.”

Shootings become deadliest targets attack About Sikh Americans in American History. So while hate crimes are not a new concept for Sikh Americans, the Oak Brook attack sent shockwaves through the community, said Sim J. Attariwala, senior policy and advocacy manager for the Sikh Coalition.

“It’s a gloomy day,” Atariwala told CBS News. “I think every Sikh I know, including myself, clearly remembers where they were when they heard about the Oak Creek shooting.”

In the 10 years since the attack, the threat of white nationalism and crimes against Sikhs and other American minorities has increased, he said.

“Oak Creek can be seen as a warning to the increasingly violent and assertive role white supremacy will play in American society over the next decade,” Attariwala said. “Our community, the AAPI community, the Latino community, the black community, the Jewish community The community, the Muslim community — I think, they’re all on high alert.”

Authorities such as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have identified white supremacist groups as one of the most dangerous threats in America, said Michael Lieberman of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Lieberman told CBS News that federal agencies “repeatedly identify what they believe to be the deadliest domestic threat today, number one: racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists who assert the superiority of the white race.” And two more: violent extremists who are anti-government or anti-authority.”

One way in which these threats may be reduced in the future, he said, is to improve the way the country tracks hate crime data. Local law enforcement agencies will only voluntarily report hate crimes to the FBI – they are not required.This means that it is likely that many of the hate crimes that are happening in the US are happening not reported.

“Having this data and taking data reporting seriously will help allocate resources,” Lieberman said. “If you know there’s been three anti-Muslim hate crimes in a community, you can reassure the community by increasing police patrols and getting civic leaders out to talk to them.”

In addition to improving hate crime tracking, some activists are pushing for more federal funding for the safety of places of worship.Sahej Preet Singh of the Sikh Alliance said that while the government Currently Funding these institutions to receive funding, actually getting funding is a competitive process.

“The grant actually covers bulletproof glass, improved security alarms, new cameras, etc. So, the money is really helpful,” Singer told CBS News. “But at the moment, the budget is limited, so the competition has become very, very intense.”

If the government can increase the budget allocated to the grant, more nonprofits and places of worship will be able to access the funds, he said.

Tragedy and hate crimes like Oak Brook can be difficult for targeted communities, but Sikh Americans have turned their heartbreak into an impetus for change, Kaleika told CBS News.

“What happened that day didn’t stop us from understanding that we have a role to play in America. It just made us more determined,” he said. “In times of grief and pain, sometimes it brings out the worst in us. But for us, I think it brings out the best in us.”

Lieberman said the world can use Sikh Americans’ response to the attack as an example of how to act in the face of tragedy. So far, they’ve had the FBI start tracking the number of hate crimes specifically affecting Sikhs, launched Seva National Day, also known as Selfless Service, they’ve encouraged people to engage in some form of community service, and have helped dozens of people gurdwaras apply for federal security grants.

“The resilience that the community has shown and the way they commemorate the murdered has come through action,” he said. “So many members of this community recognize that there are ways to make things better, not just for Sikhs. American community, and for everyone, it’s really community best practice.



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