A file photo of a protest by 1984 riot victims

Oz gurdwara vandalised, SGPC condemns attack

Melbourne, Australia: The SGPC has strongly condemned the attack on a gurdwara at Perth in Australia.

In a statement issued here today, SGPC spokesman Diljeet Singh Bedi said the attack on the shrine was highly condemnable and the Australian authorities must initiate strict action against those behind it.

He said SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, who was on a visit to the US, had shot off a missive to the Australian High Commission in New Delhi.

The newly built gurdwara became the target of anti-Islamic slurs after it was vandalised. It was also painted with obscene messages. The multi-million dollar gurdwara in Bennett Springs was painted with the words like “Aussie pride” and “go home”, ABC reported. Security cameras of the gurdwara were also damaged.

“We are from India, particularly from Punjab. We have got no relation with any other religion. We are Sikhs and our religion is totally different from any other religion,” said the pastor, Satjit Singh.

He said the vandalism was very upsetting and the damage could cost up to USD 50,000 to repair. “It hurts me and I believe it’s insulting to the Australian community and the people,” he said.

The treasurer of the gurdwara, Aman Deep Singh, said it was very hurtful. “Whoever has done this, he has done a shameful act, and also, please get your knowledge right,” Aman Deep said. “Make the difference between Arabs and Sikhs and above all we all are here, we have left our businesses, jobs. They have done so much damage. They have not actually just done the damage to the gurdwara, they have done the damage to the whole country,” he said. He said these “shameful acts” damaged the progress of the country.

Labor MP Margaret Quirk said the racial slurs showed “complete ignorance”. “Most of the people who worship in this temple are in fact Australian citizens. This is shocking,” she said.

“Sikh soldiers were beside Aussie soldiers at Gallipoli and so this week of course we remember that it’s the centenary of our soldiers going to Gallipoli and we serve next to many soldiers who were of the Sikh religion,” she said.

“It would be no less acceptable if this was done on a mosque, but it does show the calibre of the people who are doing this graffiti. I think racially and religiously motivated vilification and graffiti should be stopped immediately,” she said. “On behalf of the West Australian community, I certainly want to apologise to my friends in the Sikh community that they have to put up with this rubbish,” she added.

The incident has occurred a few days after two Perth mosques and an Islamic school were vandalised and had been painted with slogans, including “ban Islam”.

Source: HT

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