US Sikhs wary after Orlando gay club shooting


Sikh Americans, who have faced hate crimes after every major terror attack, are fearing a backlash following the Orlando gay club shooting, even as the Obama administration has assured them of their safety.In a bid to allay growing concerns within the community, the White House sent one of its top officials to a gurdwara in the suburb of Washington DC yesterday to meet members of the Sikh community and the local leadership to assure them about their safety and interest.“We know this is a time when some in the community fear unease,” Cecilia Munoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, told PTI after her interaction with the Sikh community at the oldest gurdwara of Maryland — Guru Nanak Foundation of America.“I shared the work that the federal government is doing to make sure that every child is safe and secure, every person is feeling safe and secure in the places of worship and the places where they work and the places where they study,” Munoz said, adding that there was no need to be fearful.Paramvir Singh Soni, chairperson of the Guru Nanak Foundation, acknowledged that there was a sense of fear in the community and said the Sikh Americans were touched by the steps being taken by US President Barack Obama in this regard.“We are still looking for stronger action against hate crimes. I think we need to do some more work there, but we are making progress,” he said.Soni said the community wanted to have the next President as one who could address its challenge.“Someone who is more open to the Sikh community, somebody who is more engaged,” he said.Dr Rajwant Singh, Washington-based chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, said the Sikh community was very concerned about the possible backlash from the Orlando killings. — PTI.

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