March 15, 2019 (New York, NY) – In the largest act of mass violence in New Zealand’s history, two mosques were horrifically attacked during Friday prayer services. The Sikh Coalition stands in solidarity with the Muslim community and offers its condolences in their time of mourning. This tragedy follows other recent deadly attacks on houses of worship in America, including a synagogue in Pittsburgh, an African American church in Charleston, and a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek.
The New Zealand massacre began when a gunman entered a mosque and shot at Muslim worshippers as they gathered for Friday prayers. He then drove to another nearby mosque and murdered more worshippers. As of now, reports indicate
that there are at least 49 people dead and many more injured. It is also being reported that the gunman is a “white nationalist who hates immigrants.
The Sikh Coalition urges community members to know their rights, remain vigilant and always report cases of bias, bigotry and backlash.
“This horrific recurring pattern and epidemic of hate must end. No community or faith should ever feel unsafe in their house of worship,” said Sikh Coalition Executive Director Satjeet Kaur. “We ask that gurdwaras and all communities in the United States remain vigilant and always report cases of bias, bigotry and backlash.”
The Sikh Coalition provides completely free and confidential legal assistance to Sikhs who have been discriminated against or subject to bias based upon their religious beliefs or identity. If you believe you have been discriminated against or subject to bias, please fill out our legal intake form
to request free legal assistance.
TAKE ACTION & KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
1. Share Gurdwara Security Toolkit
– Print or email our Gurdwara Security Toolkit
, and share it with your gurdwara. Since 2017, over 50 gurdwaras have worked with the Sikh Coalition to take proactive steps to make their gurdwaras safer. Ask your gurdwara if they have already participated, and if they haven’t, please have a committee member email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
for a free consultation.
2. Report Hate Incidents
– If you or somebody you know has experienced hate violence, bias-based property damage, hate vandalism, or threats thereof, call law enforcement immediately and seek medical attention if needed. Please be aware that law enforcement should not ask you about your immigration status, and in the event that they do, you have the right to not answer this question. If you would like to have a free and confidential consultation with experienced attorneys in either English or Punjabi, please contact the Sikh Coalition at 212-655-3095 or fill out our reporting form
3. Know Your Rights
– Please be aware of your surroundings and know your rights. Download our FAQ guide on hate crimes and hate speech
and learn how to report incidents to authorities and the Sikh Coalition. Our hate crime poster
can be displayed at your gurdwara and is available in both English and Punjabi. To receive free copies of any of our available resources
, please email us at email@example.com
4. Share This Information with Your Family and Friends
– Forward this email to your friends and family. Encourage them to sign up for the Sikh Coalition’s email alerts
so that they can continue to receive related updates on resources and information. Take the next easy step and post this information to your social media accounts. It is critical that we disseminate this information to every sangat member so that if a hate incident happens, they know we are here to provide free and confidential legal resources.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.