By Jenette Sturges Sun-Times Media/ email@example.com August 7, 2012 3:02AM
The American Sikh community has faced tragedy and persecution before.
“I was so praying that it wasn’t a hate crime,” said Ravi Singh, spokesman for the Illinois Sikh Community Center in Wheaton. “Thirty five years ago we were explaining who we were, why we’re not related to Ayatollah Khomeini. Now we have to re-educate everyone.”
In the wake of Middle East conflicts and again after the Sept. 11 attacks, followers of Sikhism were subject to hate crimes stemming from racism and confusion about their background and beliefs.
During prayer on Sunday morning in a temple in Oak Creek, Wis., an armed assailant who authorities believe had ties to white supremacy opened fire at the temple, leaving six dead and three still in the hospital. He was shot and killed by police at the scene.