WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 7, 2012) — Late yesterday, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund called on local and federal authorities to initiate a hate crime investigation into the vandalism and defacing with graffiti of a gurdwara (Sikh congregational place of worship) in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
According to reports directly from the gurdwara management committee, the vandalism happened between the evening of Feb. 5th and the morning of Feb. 6, 2012. The graffiti included vulgar language, racial epithets, the use of what appears to be a cross, a large drawing of a gun, and references to the attacks of Sept. 11.
The new site of the gurdwara has been under construction and is due for completion this summer; it was uninhabited when the crime took place. The construction has been ongoing, and recently the exterior had been painted, with the graffiti now taking up a large area on the building’s front wall.
No witnesses have come forward yet, but anyone with information regarding this crime should contact the Sterling Heights Police Department directly.
“Attacks and vandalism against any of the nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by all Americans,” said SALDEF Associate Executive Director Jasjit Singh. “We call upon local and federal law enforcement agencies to rightfully classify this incident as a hate crime and bring the perpetrators to justice to show that hate and violence are not tolerable in our society.”
SALDEF has been in contact with the Sterling Heights Police Department, Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to urge their action on this matter and to offer our support in assisting with the investigation.
Founded in 1996, SALDEF is the oldest Sikh American civil rights and educational organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the civil rights of Sikh Americans through advocacy, education, and media relations. SALDEF’s mission is to create a fostering environment in the United States for future generations of Sikh Americans. www.saldef.org