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Calgary Gurudwara Vandalised With ‘Racist’ Graffiti In Mobilization Of Hate Across Canada

The World Sikh Organization of Canada condemns the racist vandalism of the Sikh Society of Calgary that took place early on Thursday morning.  The racist graffiti included a swastika and profanity. Sikh-American activist group UNITED SIKHS has also reached out to the local authorities and requested an increase in police presence around Gurdwaras in the future to help the community feel safe again.

CALGARY – A Calgary gurudwara was vandalized and spray-painted with “racist” graffiti and profanity by unidentified racists, prompting police to probe the incident as a hate crime.

This incident comes after numerous others were mosques, jewish temples and flyers against Chinese were distributed across Canada by racist groups in a growing mobilization of hate following racist Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential race

The World Sikh Organization of Canada condemns the racist vandalism of the Sikh Society of Calgary that took place early on Thursday morning.  The racist graffiti included a swastika and profanity.

In January 2015, a gurdwara in Edmonton was spray-painted with racist graffiti and earlier this year, racist-anti Sikh posters were posted at the University of Alberta.

WSO Vice President for Alberta, and Calgary resident, Tejinder Singh Sidhu said, “while we are saddened to see the racist vandalism of the Sikh Society of Calgary, it comes at a time when we are seeing racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic vandalism in several places across Canada.  These deplorable acts are motivated by ignorance and all Canadians must stand in solidarity to ensure that racist and discriminatory rhetoric is loudly rejected.   The Sikh community has always responded to such incidents with education and outreach and we will be doing so again this time with the support and cooperation of the local community.”

The WSO encourages community members to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity around gurdwaras to the authorities.

The graffiti at the Calgary temple was visible around six locations in and around the building of the gurudwara, situated in 81st Street in Calgary city of Alberta province.

Police said a graffiti coordinator and a hate crime coordinator have been called in to investigate the vandalism, Calgary Herald reported on Saturday.

Sikh-American activist group UNITED SIKHS has also reached out to the local authorities and requested an increase in police presence around Gurdwaras in the future to help the community feel safe again.

Sukhwinder Singh, Director at UNITED SIKHS Canada, said “We will work with local interfaith organizations, schools and the police to educate the community at large about Sikhism. It is important that people know that Sikhs have been in Canada for more than a 100 years. We hope to combat this type of hatred by seeking police enforcement of anti-hate laws and by educating the overall community about the good that members of the Sikh community do in Calgary and in neighborhoods around the world through works of Seva. Many people may not know that Sikhs give back to the community by selflessly giving succor to those in need.”

According to human rights activists in Canada, Donald Trump’s Presidential election campaign in the United States has had an impact across the border in Canada.

“We are seeing the domino effect of his divisive rhetoric and it has caused a dramatic increase in incidents of racist and xenophobic harassment across the country and hope that Europe will not resonate. The Sikhs across the globe remember how after 9/11, in 2004, France passed a law on secularity to ban conspicuous religious symbols in schools in French public (i.e. government-operated) primary and secondary schools followed by Belgium that took us to take a legal stand” Singh added.

For example, in Ottawa, in the month of November 2016, police arrested a teenager who targeted religious groups with racist graffiti. In Toronto last Monday night, a man was caught on camera hurling racist insults and threatening another man on a streetcar full of commuters.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center report, there were four hundred and thirty-seven incidents of intimidation targeting people of color, Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslims like Sikhs, immigrants, the L.G.B.T. community and women between the presidential election in the U. S. on November 8th and November 14th of this year.

The Sikh community is concerned about this increase in hate crimes in Alberta and other neighborhoods where there is a visible Sikh presence, said Singh.

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