NYC leaders want call for more tolerance for Sikhs
In the wake of the shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple, city leaders are urging for offices, schools and other institutions to promote an environment where worshippers can feel welcome.
Rep. Joseph Crowley joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and other elected officials at the Shri Guru Ravidass Temple in Woodside Tuesday to express his remorse for the shooting that killed six Sikhs.
Crowley said the attack was caused by a lack of knowledge of the Southeast Asian religion and if nothing iss done soon, more innocent Sikhs would get hurt.
"These attacks don't represent an isolated incident, they represent a violent trend," he said.
Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) added that since 9/11, Sikhs across the city have been harassed by ignorant people who associate them with Islamic extremists.
The leaders said they all agreed with teaching students about the Sikh religion in city schools as well as public campaigns. Harpreet Singh Toor, a Sikh community activist, pushed the leaders to make changes to NYPD and other government offices that place restrictions on Sikh men's beard and turbans because it is an important sign of their religion.
"We need to bring sense to the people," he said.
The NYPD did not return messages for comment.
Crowley said the mayor and police commissioner have been receptive to the requests by the Sikh community in the past and was confident they would work out something that was mutually beneficial.