Sunday, August 05, 2012

RFPUSA's Response to the Heinous Murders at Wisconsin Gurdwara


From: Religions for Peace-USA
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2012 4:13 PM

Religions Working for Peace and Justice

Dear Esteemed Religions for Peace USA Colleagues:

Warm greetings to you under sad circumstances.

Please find below an early statement which I offer on behalf of the greater
Religions for Peace family in response to the heinous murders early on
Sunday morning, August 5 in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Details and the motivations of the individual(s) responsible for this
incident are not yet known. Yet our message of support and solidarity is
immediate and strong.


Rev Bud Heckman,

Secretary General , Religions for Peace USA
Statement of the Secretary General

Religions for Peace USA

Concerning the Heinous Murders at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin

August 5, 2012

On the morning of Sunday, August 5, an assailant entered the Sikh Temple of
Wisconsin in the southern Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek and killed six
innocent congregants and wounded at least three others. The assailant was
put down, but not before badly wounding a responding police officer.

These are reprehensible acts of violence and must be condemned in the
strongest terms possible. There is no justification for these acts. This
is especially so in a place of holy worship and amongst innocent and unarmed

Our heartfelt condolences are extended to the affected families and
congregation and the wider Sikh community.

The Sikh gurdwara (temple), which enjoys a congregation of approximately 400
participants, was occupied at the time, including many women and children.
Temple member Harpbreet Singh said that every Sunday morning there is a
peaceful service for families of the gurdwara at the same time as this

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with a population of
upwards of 30 million worldwide. There are an estimated 500,000 Sikhs in the
United States. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than
700 incidents of bias attacks against Sikhs in the U.S. since 9/11.

The leadership of Religions for Peace USA, which is comprised of senior
representatives of more than 60 US religious communities, offers our
heartfelt condolences and pledges of support to the leadership and families
of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, the wider Sikh community, and all those
affected by this tragedy. The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin is affiliated with
the World Sikh Council - America Region, an active and leading member body
of Religions for Peace USA.

Representatives from a vast array of religious communities - Buddhist,
Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Shinto, Sikh,
Unitarian Universalist, and Zoroastrian - who compromise Religions for Peace
in the United States and beyond stand in steadfast solidarity with their
Sikh colleagues and the people of faith and goodwill who were the victims of
these heinous attacks.

Religions for Peace USA is part of the world's largest interreligious
organization - Religions for Peace, which has a presence in over 90
countries around the globe and which has a respected track record of more
than four decades working to transform conflict and end violence.

Thanks to a generous foundation partnership, Religions for Peace USA's
central work during 2012-14 is the development of a long-term, multi-party,
collective impact approach to combating religious discrimination. Religions
for Peace USA recommits itself to a path of education, outreach, and
compassion in the face of such intolerance and violence.

Messages of condolence and solidarity should be sent to:

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
441 E. Lincoln Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207.

Religions for Peace - USA
777 United Nations Plaza
9th Floor New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212.338.9140 | Fax: 212.983.0566
Web: | Email:


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