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Need to recognise contribution of Sikhs: Obama

August 08, 2012 19:50 IST

In the wake of the shooting incident at a Wisconsin Gurdwara that claimed six lives, United States President Barack Obama feels 'very strongly' that there is a need to recognise the significant contributions of the Sikhs to the American community.

"The US president feels very strongly that in the wake of this shooting, that we need to recognise the significant contributions of the Sikh community to the broader American community," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Four Indian nationals were among the six killed on Sunday when a gunman opened fire at the Gurdwara. The suspect Wade Michael Page was shot dead by security forces in counter fire.

"I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation or on the motives behind the attack in Wisconsin. I did note on Tuesday that since 9/11 there have been occasions where Sikhs have been targetted for violence because they have been misidentified as Muslims," he said.

"That is a terrible thing on two levels because obviously neither Muslims nor Sikhs should be targeted for this kind of terrible violence. And again, I'm speaking in a broader  sense here, not with regard to what happened in Wisconsin, because I cannot make judgments about motive there while it's under investigation," Carney said.

"The president -- as he said in his statement, and the first lady, their hearts go out to the victims, to their families, to the broader community. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is part of this investigation, and more broadly, the administration is certainly assisting in whatever way it can," Carney added.

Responding to a question on gun control laws, Carney said Obama believes that the country is facing a problem of violence which needs to be addressed.

"The president believes we have a violence challenge in this country, a violence problem that we need to address and come at from a variety of fronts because it is not a problem that is just related to gun laws," he said.

"The president believes that when it comes to firearms that we need to take common-sense measures that respect and uphold the Second Amendment rights of the American people," the top Obama aide added.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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