Statement of the Secretary General, the Rev. Bud Heckman Religions for Peace USA Concerning Murders at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin

Statement of the Secretary General, the Rev. Bud Heckman
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 civilians.

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 incident. 

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

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)