The impact of Sunday’s massacre at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin by a white supremacist hit especially hard for Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. Gill says as an American citizen and a member of the Sikh faith himself, he is both outraged and saddened by the events that occurred. He says hate crimes not only affect the immediate victims but also those who belong to community.
“As a person here I am of course saddened but I also understand by talking to members of the Sikh community here, who have rightful anxiety. They worry if their children are protected, if they’re safe, or if they are going to be a potential victim of a hate crime or somebody’s anger when they go to pick up their groceries on any given day.”
Gill’s father was one of the original founders of Utah’s first Sikh Temple.
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith and the 5th largest religion in the world, with roughly 500,000 Sikhs in the United States. Gill says intolerance such as hate speech has become too prevalent in our society.
“We need to say that these are not acceptable speeches. I understand that they are people’s belief systems, but we shouldn’t be tolerant of that. And I think as we become more isolated, and fragmented, and individuated in our political sensibilities, I think it becomes easier to rationalize hate against the ‘other’ and I think speaks to much greater challenge for us as a community and as a society.”
A candlelight was held Wednesday night at the Sikh Temple in Salt Lake City to remember the victims of Sunday’s shootings.