SMART Applauds Bush Administration’s Condemnation of Attacks on Minorities

September 15th, 2001

George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

The Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force (SMART), a Sikh American civil rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., would like to applaud your remarks condemning attacks against American Muslims, Arab- Americans, and those who may appear to look like Arab Americans, in the wake of Tuesday’s horrific and cruel terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

Sikhs, who also wear turbans and have uncut beards, have been victims of violent assaults and threats. A sixty-six year-old Sikh man was attacked with baseball bats and left unconscious in Queens. Our temples and businesses have also been the target of violent attacks. In addition, the first death as a result of the racist backlash against Americans in the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks was a Sikh man in Arizona who was killed on Saturday, September 15.

As Sikh Americans, we are saddened by the tremendous loss of life and threat to freedom that these terrorist acts have caused. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and our fellow Americans who have been affected by this tragedy. SMART hopes the U.S. government is able to swiftly bring to justice those who were responsible for these atrocities.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion with origins in northwestern India. Sikhs have been in the United States for over 100 years and now number close to 400,000. Sikhs all over America have joined their neighbors in grieving for those lost and in assisting the recovery effort. Our community is ready to serve our country, the United States, in any way possible. We will be happy to assist law enforcement authorities in any way we can, should we be called upon to do so.

SMART believes that your remarks condemning attacks against our community and others will help reinstate a tone of tolerance in our society. We hope you can repeat this theme in future addresses to the nation to make sure that the anger that is rising against the terrorists who have attacked does not get tragically turned against innocent fellow Americans. Our prayers are with you as you strike back against America’s enemies abroad and endeavor to protect the lives and freedoms of all Americans at home.

Sincerely,

Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force

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