NJ Sikh Leaders Call for More Education After Shooting

In wake of deadly Wisconsin shooting, Garden State Sikh president, youth leader say many people around the world misunderstand their religion.

The president of the Garden State Sikh was in Europe on vacation when he heard about the , that left at least seven dead.

"We were really shocked," Jaskaran Singh said. "There was no reason for it."

Singh, a Warren Township resident, said the Sikh Temple Gurudwara's home on Washington Valley Road in Bridgewater feels welcome by its neighbors in the community.

"We never have problems in Bridgewater with the neighbors or anything," he said. "Everyone is very friendly."

Gurinderjit Singh, a Sikh from Paramus and the president of Sikh Youth of America, said since 9/11, Sikhs have sometimes been misunderstood by the community and that education is crucial.

"We really don't feel unsafe," he said. "But unfortunately, there have been so many incidents of bias against the Sikh community since 9/11. We are the only people in the world right now who wear turbans, and long beards."

Gurinderjit said it is important to reflect and to emphasize education following such tragedies.

"I think people in the United States need to be educated," he said. "We understand those things like what happened in Aurora, [Colo.], the mass killing...it could be something like that. One of the reporters on CNN was saying, it's not only the guns, not only the crime, but the overall mental health and education of the American people."

Sikhs have been fleeing India for decades, Gurinderjit Singh said, and many felt that coming to America would be safer.

"In India, thousands and thousands of Sikhs have been eliminated from the face of the earth by the Indian government. ... We left thinking this place would be safe. ... Unfortunately, it is not a very good situation for the past 10 or 11 years, since 9/11."

Gurinderjit Singh said the United States, "being a superpower, with the best education system in the world, should have more...it is time for us to learn and improve and build on a strong community in the United States."

Part of Jaskaran Singh's job, as president of the Garden State Sikh Association, is community outreach. Recently, the organization has met with local school teachers to inform the community about their religion. The organization has also reached out to representatives from other churches and temples from various religions throughout the region.

"Unfortunately, our history books and our schools, they're not that informative about our culture and religion," Jaskaran Singh said. "There has been a case of mistaken identity...some people think we're Muslim, some consider us Hindus."

The religion has approximately 1 million members in the United States and have been living here for a century, according to Gurinderjit Singh.

The Garden State Sikh Association will discuss possible ways to help the families in Oak Creek, in an attempt to provide financial assistance or in any way that is needed.

"Obviously, we cannot fill their loss," Jaskaran Singh said. "People are seriously injured in the hospital. At this time all we can do is pray for the people that are in the hospital, to help them survive."

One of those injured is a police officer who was shot multiple times, according to CNN.

"It's really sad that one of our bravest has to go there in this kind of circumstance," Gurinderjit Singh said. "It's a tragic situation not only for the Sikh community, but also for all Americans.

Concerned August 08, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Pointy, The point that Romney was making was not directed narrowly at Palestinians. His point was that Israel has zero natural resources, such as oil reserves, as many Arabs states have. Israel has a rich and deep culture and faith that helped create an extremely successful country out of an area of desert. He was not demeaning others, but pointing out the extraordinary success of Israel economically and politically. Now I will state from my perspective that Israel treats women with tremendous dignity whereas some countries that practice Islam in that region do not treat women with respect and dignity. That is a cultural difference between Israel and some of its neighbors. You tell me if that is superior from a cultural point of view.
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Good morning Monk. I'll reply to you in my next comment but first I need to respond to Concerned. Did you see or read Ronmey's speech? He most certainly did narrowly refer to Palestinians. He was knock for it by the majority of the world press by being selective in his Arab-based target. He conveniently left out the sanctions and other impediments that Israel has set towards the Palestinians. He also was panned by leaving out those Arab countries that have a much higher per capita than Israel. It was pandering pure and simple. He linked economic prosperity to culture and God. Google "billionaire responds to Romney" that piece gives more than my allotted space here allows. We can set up a ledger with pros and cons of each culture, but both sides will have tic marks in the negative column. Including the dispraportionment (sic) amount of US aid each receives. I hate to be in a position of only defending 1 side in this as fault lies with both sides, but when people throw out superiority based on culture, I find that lazy and too simplified.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Pointy, This is Mitt Romney comments on Israel. All very true: The story of how America – a nation still so new to the world by the standards of this ancient region – rose up to become the dear friend of the people of Israel is among the finest and most hopeful in our nation’s history. We both believe in democracy, in the right of every people to select their leaders and choose their nation’s course. We both believe in the rule of law, knowing that in its absence, willful men may incline to oppress the weak. We both believe that our rights are universal, granted not by government but by our Creator. We both believe in free enterprise, because it is the only economic system that has lifted people from poverty, created a large and enduring middle class, and inaugurated incomparable achievements and human flourishing. As someone who has spent most of his life in business, I am particularly impressed with Israel’s cutting edge technologies and thriving economy. We recognize yours as the “start-up nation” – and the evidence is all around us. You have embraced economic liberty. You export technology, not tyranny or terrorism. And today, your innovators and entrepreneurs have made the desert bloom and have made for a better world. The citizens of our countries are fortunate to share in the rewards of economic freedom and in the creativity of our entrepreneurs. What you have built here, with your own hands, is a tribute to your people, and a model for others.
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Sorry Monk, Concerned needs another reply. Concerned, this is the part of Romney's remarks that you left out. "As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who breakfasted around a U-shaped table at the luxurious King David Hotel. The economic disparity between the Israelis and the Palestinians is actually much greater than Romney stated. Israel had a per capita gross domestic product of about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza had a per capita GDP of just over $1,500, according to the World Bank. "And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the "hand of providence."..... So yes Concerned, he did narrowly direct this and yes he was demeaning.
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 04:54 PM
The AP notes that Romney didn't mention the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. It didn't point out that Israel has actually built a wall and that Israel receives more than $3 billion annually from the United States, which has the effect of a roughly $500-per-person subsidy from U.S. taxpayers for each Israeli citizen. The Palestinians receive no direct U.S. aid. Romney donors like gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, who was in attendance and has donated more than $10M to date with the pledge to raise and donate up to $100M, donate for this very reason; the chances that Arab Americans would have been voting for Romney were slim anyway; and Romney's campaigning hard for the Jewish vote, which skews liberal but becomes far more conservative when it comes to hardline positions on Israel. I'm not anti-Israel by any means, but please open your eyes to this clear pandering. I can't recall the last candidate to pull the "God is on our side" card. I thought we were way past that.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Pointy, Romney did draw a comparison between Israel and Palestine and the per capita difference and it was not demeaning but a fact. As long as countries demean women and the value of life, they cannot succeed in the long term. Israel is an amazing country and Romney properly drew that comparison. Look at the terrible poverty that was part of South Africa under Apparthied (sp). It took the courage of Nelson Mandela to overcome that injustice. Today S Africa is on its way to recovery, but it will take time. Israel is a showcase of democracy and it wants peace with people who want it destroyed.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Pointy, Romney is not pandering to Israel. He is repairing damage that four years of Obama has caused by his pandering to the Arab states. Yes Israel gets $3billion a year from the USA and Egypt also gets $3billion from the USA. The rest of the Arab states get aid form us as part of the chess game in the middle east and also since we do not drill for oil in the US we purchase oil from the Arab states and that provides them with tremendous wealth. Palestine must recognize Israel's right to exist. Romney is on the right side of Israel and Obama is not
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Concerned - Now you're saying he did direct it towards the Palestinians. You have 2 posts in 2 days that contradict. Yes technically and without background, the per capita disparity is fact and even larger than he stated. I tried to fill in the blanks as to some of the causes that both Romney and you failed to include. Some have postulated that he did not include the $28k+ disparity because it would more easily shine light on some of the "non-cultural" reasons. ie blockades, walls, direct aid, etc. Concerning Israel being an "amazing" country, I have heard that. It doesn't change any of Romney's pandering remarks or their meaning. I would give my life for each of my children. They to are "amazing". I'm just able to see that they are also not "perfect". I have not been to Israel but do admire their ability to remain a democratic state surrounded by enemies. That is why I stated earlier that I don't like being in the position to defend one, while possibly looking to deface or demean the other.
Tee Smyth August 08, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Did someone say lukewarm support of Israel?????? REALLY?
concerned August 08, 2012 at 05:41 PM
May I ask a question? who is this person using my user name? I have had the user name Concerned for a long time...Now there is someone using my name making comments... HMM I have to contact Claire. to see who this person is..
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Concerned - You say he's repairing damage from 4 years of Obama. Please elaborate. Concerning the Egyptian aid, that's probably why Romney did not reference them as it would not have supported his "God is on our side" strawman. In regards to Israel's right to exist, you bet it should be recognized by all, including Palestine. It's just that now we expand the discussion to include land rights. I do not believe Romney would be better for Israel, in fact, unless it's more hollow pandering, he seems to be itching for another war.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Pointy what i tried to communicate is that Romney used the comparison to Palestine but he could have chosen any of the Arabs states and made the same point. He was pointing out that Israel is a democracy and its citizens are free and women are not demeaned as they are in many of the Islamic states. The Arabs states have royal families, dictators, religious dictators and those systems of government will never produce the positive lifestyle and broad based economic success that Israel enjoys. Romney was not pandering but he was marveling at Israel. Something Obama has never done. Cultures of Israel neighbors stone women to death for the accusation of adultery, or if a woman is raped she is blamed and her family murders her because of the stigma. Romney is pointing out the obvious and Israel is not perfect but amazing and will be treated as a true ally after this election and we get Obama out of the White House. Obama can then join Jimmy Carter in bashing Israel from retirement.
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Romney would "marvel" at a rock if he thought it would garner another vote. He has no passion, as seen by his current stances on issues as compared to former stances but 5 short years ago. Sorry, I believe you're being duped. I know of no other way to ask this and it will probably sound prejudice. It's not my intent but feel free to interpret as you see fit. Is there an Israelli "marvel" test for president now? I only ask that because you specifically say Romney does and Obama didn't. I've seen that as more trying to work towards peace, as opposed to "pandering" to the Arab countries. Interesting you bring up the "blaming of the victim of rape" as a cultural deficiency. I agree and point out that there are still today, in this day and age, members of Romney's party that would deny that same victim, here in the U.S., the right to a legal abortion. Once again, this too leads to a long discussion, but I hope illustrates the point that trying to simplify the complex can lead to paths some may not want to travel. Clearly you have a "narrow directed" criteria for electing our president. Good for you and I will never change your opinion. Good luck, be well and in the spirit of leaving this circular discussion, Shalom.
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Hi lower case concerned. I believe that may be why he was able to sign in with the same name. It's still worth checking with Claire.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I have had the name Concerned for more than a year.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Pointy Hat You asked what damage Obama did to US Israel relations. I am surprised you have to ask. For starters his first speech in the region was in Egypt where he spoke to the Muslim Brotherhood, and as a side note, then President Mubarak was not invited to attend. He then never consulted with Israel when he suddenly announced that Israel should move it borders back to the original 1963 borders, which today would be impossible to protect Israel from the constant rocket attacks. He is an utter failure on our economy and foreign policy. You now bring up the left wing point about abortion in the case of rape. What a misdirected comment. The Islamic religion as practiced in the middle east and Somalia abuses women and that is a fact. All people should be honored and respected. I read the other day the Bain Capital received the highest award from a prominent GLBT group for its policies and benefits for GLBT employees. Now that is leadership and treating everyone with respect.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I will speak to Claire as well and find out who had the name first. If it was you I will change my name. If not you change. I do not need to know who you are as i will respect your privacy.
Tommy P August 08, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I am NOT Bachmann's biggest fan, but doesn't she a point? She was questioning why the Secretary of State's aide and wife of disgraced congressman A. Weiner wasn't vetted. She made no accusation, just raised a concern. There are allegations Huma has three family members–her late father, her mother and her brother– who are connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Isn't that something inspector generals should look at? I am also a bit confused how you can relate "nihilists" and neo-nazis. One group is for no state and the other for total state control. Maybe you could explain this?
Tommy P August 08, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Gun laws have a lot to do with this. If one the victims was armed, there would have been fewer victims.
WOW August 08, 2012 at 08:07 PM
thats crazy- both your parents named you Concerned what a coincidence...ive met two mikes and two dans before but never two Concerned's!
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Oh concerned. I have a dinner appointment so we can continue later if you would like. Until then I will try to reply to your latest points. Obama's first speech in Europe was in Prague. Being from European decent but not from the Czech Republic, should I too be offended? Is this another "test" for a "marvelling" president. I do not recall any other heads of state being in attendence. You're angry because he did not consult with Israel when he expressed his opinion. Sorry, most conservatives rail about US exceptionalism and how great we are. Do we now first call over to Tel Aviv before OUR president speaks? Again, that sounds anti-Israel which I'm bothered by coming across as, but I don't know how else to show you that I think that's absurd. And if it was ANY other country but Israel, I would be leading a Republican parade down Park Ave. Next up is my "left wing point" about rape. I remind you that you brought it up as an example of a dificient culture. All I did was point out that here on "God's side" we have leaders who would deny those same victims legally protected rights. I won't waste space with the documented quotes from those in power on the "right". Oops, almost missed your failure comment on economy and foreign policy. Economy will also bring us on a long road. It's still bad, but might McConnel and Boehner throwing logs at every turn have contributed? I won't rehash their quotes or actions they too are well documented.
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 08:18 PM
pointy on me being duped....i agree I was duped because I voted for Obama last time. It will not happen this time as I am voting for leadership, experience and values, so my vote will be cast for Romney. Romney will create a moderate bipartisan majority in the congress and lead from the middle as did Bill Clinton. Obama cannot do that as he is not a leader, he is a campaigner from Chicago and he does not speak about issues but runs a campaign to demean and malign his opponents. Oh and don't say its the tea party"s fault because Bill Clinton and Newt worked together even though they were polar opposites as did Reagan and Tip O'Neill. Its what leaders do...lead.
Pointy hat August 08, 2012 at 08:19 PM
On foreign policy, really???? Again, google obama foreign accomplishments and the lists pop up pretty quickly. Those that have been killed or rendered infertile may beg to differ with your assessment. Unless that assessment only deals with a country or two's hurt feelings. Now you're diverting to women's and gay's rights? Yup, that certainly is a Romney/Republican winner. You can not be serious on that one. I see you grasping at straws. gtg
Concerned August 08, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Pointy the middle east and europe are not the same in terms of sensitivity. Israel is an ally and Obama has ignored them and treated them poorly. Yes Bain has received the highest honors for its policies, treatment and benefits provided to GLBT employees including their respective partners. Look it up and stop drinking the Obama kool aid.
JERSEY GIRL August 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
The names concerned are spelled differently one has a capital c
Pointy hat August 09, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Concerned - you mention Reagan, Tip, Newt, and Clinton as examples of leaders who worked together. I agree. What did they have in common, either through their character or at times due to political necessity? They were each able to compromise for the good of our country. You were quick to qualify your example by mentioning the Tea Party and saying in essence "don't blame them". Well I do. Simply because compromise has been torn from their dictionary. Just this week Romney was campaigning for a Tea Party senate candidate who is on film stating "compromise is the Democrats coming to our way of thinking". If you would like the source, I will happily find it, let me know. Finally, the LGBT honor for Bain. First would you point me to it because I've been searching and can't find it. And second was this before or after Romney retroactively retired from there that the award was received. If it was within the last 10 years, it is another straw man, Romney wasn't there.
Sally McBride August 09, 2012 at 11:46 AM
oh gee, now I must vote for Obama. You convinced me. Just another young person that thinks they know it all and no one else is as "informed as they are".
Subram August 09, 2012 at 07:51 PM
"In India, thousands and thousands of Sikhs have been eliminated from the face of the earth by the Indian government. ... We left thinking this place would be safe. ... Unfortunately, it is not a very good situation for the past 10 or 11 years, since 9/11." I do not agree with this person's statement. Your prime minister in India is a Sikh. What happened in India was one time incident happened by some anti social elements, definitely effected many families. Doesn't mean India government is acting against certain community. Absolutely wrong. If there has to be one country on this earth with tru democracy, that is India.
concerned August 22, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Hi Concerned, it is not your fault , you do have the upper case C. mine is lower case, but still curious but it is ok. I had that user name for a long time. you are well spoken. But i just wanted to mention this.. :)
Concerned August 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM
A coincidence for sure. I wish you the best.


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