Valley Sikhs voice concerns after Wisconsin shooting

August 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Leaders from the Valley's Sikh community met with Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims Monday evening, voicing concerns about their safety following the Wisconsin shooting.

The Sikh Council of Central California held an emergency meeting to discuss temple security. At the same time, they're also pushing awareness. "I'm going to tell the entire world this is what a Sikh looks like. We have a turban. We have a beard. And you may see many of us out in the public. We are not Arabs. We are not Muslims. We are not al Qaida. We're not anything but Sikhs. We're Americans... just like you," said Manvinder Singh with United Sikhs.

Local Sikhs feel they've been victims of a mistaken identity and say they've been the target of hate crimes since the September 11th attacks. "We've always had this kind of fear in our mind? that this could happen on some scale. But this was a large scale, what happened yesterday," said Dr. Ranjit Singh Rajpal.

Now, members of the Sikh community are focused on where to go from here and what they can do to help protect themselves. One concern: whether so called copycat crimes could happen in the Valley. "It happens rarely. It happens very rarely but we can't let our guards down. There are supremacist groups in Fresno County. We know who most of them are and where most of them are," said Sheriff Mims.

Sheriff Mims vowed to continue working with the Sikh community and share information on what to look out for. She also told leaders they may want to consider hiring private security for the time being.


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