Washington, August 6
President Joe Biden has called for reducing gun violence and banning assault weapons in the US to defeat "domestic terrorism" and hate in all its forms, including the "poison of white supremacy", as he condemned the attack on a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin in 2012 on the 10th anniversary of the heinous act.
On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist opened fire inside the Oak Creek gurdwara in Winconsin, killing six people. A seventh person who was severely paralysed died from his injuries in 2020.
"The Oak Creek shooting was the deadliest attack on Sikh Americans in our nation's history. Tragically, attacks on our nation's houses of worship have only become more common over the past decade. No one should fear for their life when they bow their head in prayer or go about their lives in America," Biden said in a statement on Friday.
The President said the Oak Creek incident had shown "us the way" and recalled how after the attack, the Sikh community returned to their gurdwara and insisted on cleaning it themselves. The son of one of the victims became the first Sikh in American history to testify before Congress, successfully calling for the federal government to track hate crimes against Sikhs and other minority groups.
Every year, the congregation now hosts an annual memorial run to honour the victims. The event bears the words 'Charhdi Kala', meaning “eternal optimism”, he noted.
"Fuelled by that spirit of eternal optimism, we must continue to take steps now to reduce gun violence and keep our fellow Americans safe. We must do more to protect places of worship, and defeat domestic terrorism and hate in all its forms, including the poison of white supremacy.
"We must ban assault weapons- used in many mass shootings at houses of worship and other sites across the country- as well as high-capacity magazines," Biden asserted.
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