WASHINGTON– A senior aide of President Barack Obama has assured the American Sikh community that the Obama administration stood by it in the wake of recent incidents of violence against Sikhs.
“I want to offer our deepest condolences for some recent violence and attacks against Sikhs and Sikh institutions,” Melissa Rogers, special assistant to the President and head of the Office of Faith Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships said.
Rogers, the highest ranking representative of Obama Administration to attend a Sikh gathering in a gurdwara, also expressed empathy with the Sikh community over reported vandalism at a Los Angeles gurdwara.
“These reports are of tremendous concern to us as they are to you,” she was quoted as saying at the 349th birth anniversary celebrations of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, in Rockville, Maryland.
“When these kinds of things happen there is a feeling of violation and anxiety. We want you to know that we stand by you during these challenging times,” she said addressing a gathering at Guru Gobind Singh Foundation(GGSF) gurdwara.
Speaking on the issue of Sikhs in the US Army, Rogers said, “We will continue to be in touch with you on the issue of Sikhs serving in the United States Armed Forces.”
Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, thanked Obama for making “available all tools of the US Government to send a strong message that hate and violence will not be tolerated against Sikhs or any other community.”
Inder Paul Singh Gadh, chairman of GGSF, said Obama’s “resolve to stand by the community is critical at this time and it is tremendously assuring to Sikhs across the nation and especially to the Sikh youth”.