The small town of Oak Creek, Wisconsin was recently devastated when a gunman stormed a local Sikh temple and opened fire. He killed some worshipers and wounded others before dying in a shootout with police. The shooter, Wade Michael Page, was later found to be a white supremacist who firmly believed these people were the reason for the September 11th attacks even though the attacks were carried out by extremist Muslims—not Sikhs. The main reason this shooting shook our country was not because of the death toll or horrors, even though both were drastic, but it was the motive. The shooting was simply an act of terrorism against a minority by an intolerant person. In a country regarded as a paradise for multiple persecuted groups, an intolerant act of terrorism is representative of the prejudice that still exists everywhere. The more frightening aspect of this shooting is the complete ignorance shown by Page. He clearly was unaware about Sikhism and their lack of participation in terrorism. There are ways to help the Sikhs in Oak Creek and other places by simple, yet helpful actions.
First, you can donate to the temple and victims of the massacre. The relatives have funeral expenses and other general expenses, although money cannot solve the loss of a loved one, it can help. Also, certain members of the temple are still in local hospitals getting treatment for their horrible injuries. These people should not have to pay thousands of dollars because of an intolerant bigot for hospital expenses. I feel that we as Americans can show kindness and not make these people pay a cent of a hospital bill. At the bottom is a link to fund set up for the victims and their families. The fund has already surpassed its initial goal of $25,000, but any further contributions would be appreciated by these families and the Sikh community.
Furthermore, one of the best ways to support the Sikh community is to preach tolerance. The reason for this horrible shooting was intolerance. The shooter was unaware that these people had not had a role in the September 11th attacks and had causally assumed they were terrorists. The truth is the attacks were carried out by Muslim Extremists, not Sikhs. These extremists were the only people responsible and therefore should be the only people regarded as terrorists. The common person can easily dismiss anyone of different faith as a terrorist, whereas Al-Qaeda has a mere few hundred members, most of which are overseas. People of different faith in the United States should never be referred to as terrorists because the strong majority of them are simply no more or less Americans than anyone else in our country. The next time you hear someone refer to anyone as a “terrorist”, calmly explain to them a terrorist is a rare extremist and the person referred to is no less of an American than they are. Tolerance and lack of ignorance are the only ways to prevent disasters; therefore both should be encouraged in order to truly make our country a safer place with “justice for all.”