Sikh voice from Oak Creek Gurdwara urges Congress to protect minority institutions

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Pardeep Singh Kaleka testifying on Capitol Hill Feb. 17, 2022. Photo: courtesy Sikh Coalition.

Pardeep Singh Kaleka–the son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was one of 7 Sikh community members killed in the Aug. 5, 2012 attack on the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin, urge U.S. lawmakers to protect religious and other minority institutions.

On Feb. 17, 2022, Kaleka testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in a hearing entitled The Rise in Violence Against Minority Institutions.(Click here to watch the hearing)

The Sikh Coalition which has already submitted its own report on the need for policy change to Congress, worked with Kaleka on his testimony and preparation.

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“It was a privilege to come before the subcommittee and share my experience and recommendations as we work together to combat hate against our communities,” Kaleka is quoted saying in the press release from Sikh Coalition.

Kaleka is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee. “As I said in my testimony, we must take immediate action to protect communities like ours, through new laws, more federal resources, and local-level work,” he added.

In his testimony Kaleka focused on the impact of the horrific Oak Creek event on him and his family, alleging there was an ongoing threat of white supremacy to the Sikh community in the country, and on other minority communities. He also included some policy prescriptions for the federal government to address the issue.

Kaleka spoke in favor of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which will give the federal government the tools to counter domestic extremism, and the Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act, which will close a loophole in how hate crimes are prosecuted at the federal level. He also advocated for increased federal funding for securing houses of worship, as well as improvements in how the federal government tracks hate crimes and bias incidents.

The Sikh Coalition plans to launch commemorative events at the local and national level going forward to the tenth anniversary of the Oak Creek tragedy, the organization said.

 

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