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December 26, 2001
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Post-September 11, Hillary Clinton reaches out to Sikhs

T V Parasuram in Washington

Senator Hillary Clinton on Wednesday offered her support to the Sikh community in America, some of whose members were victims of hate crimes after the September 11 terrorist attacks because of mistaken identity.

"We will always remember the sacrifices made by the Sikh community in the wake of the terrible terrorist attacks on September 11. I offer my condolences and sympathy to the entire community," Hillary Clinton said addressing the Sikh community at a meeting organized on Capitol Hill in Washington by the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.

To their credit, she pointed out, Sikh Americans have striven to educate the public as well as elected officials about their religion and their heritage.

Some Sikhs fell victim to hate crimes after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the mistaken belief that because Sikhs wear turbans and bears, they have some affiliation with Saudi extremist Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network and Taliban members, who also sport beards and turbans.

Senator Clinton, who is one of the two senators from New York state and former president Bill Clinton, are very popular in the Indian community among people of all religious persuasions.

Before September 11, said Hillary Clinton, there were many Americans who did not know who a Sikh was, did not understand the rich history, traditions and beliefs of the Sikh people.

They did not have the experience that she and former president Bill Clinton were privileged to have of not only inviting Sikhs, for the first time, to the White House, but also to have many supporters in the Sikh community.

She advised Sikhs to maintain contacts on Capitol Hill.

Dr Rajwant Singh, founder-president of the Sikh Council, said the Sikh community was overwhelmed by the support it has received from all lawmakers, and especially from Hillary Clinton.

"This," he said, "is our country and we are ready to work shoulder to shoulder with the leadership of this country while trying to educate the general public about Sikhism."

Sikhs from many parts of the country participated in the function.

PTI

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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