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August 6th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Sikh Coalition chairman: 'There's a confusion about who Sikhs are and the values that we represent'

Although the motive for yesterday's shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin remains unclear, authorities have named the suspected shooter as Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist, according to information from authorities and neighbors.

The shooting has drawn attention to the Sikh community, and on Starting Point this morning, chairman of the board of trustees for the Sikh Coalition Narinder Singh sits down to try to clarify common misconceptions about the religion.

"The religion focuses on the core beliefs of living an honest life in society, giving back to those less fortunate and remembering and living in the service of God," Singh explains. "There's also a focus on equality and making sure that we fight for the justice of everyone, not just Sikhs. So I think that those values are pretty universally American [...] and that's the untold story of the Sikhs. We've been part of this country for the last hundred plus years in all walks of life."

Addressing speculation that the shooting may have been a hate crime, Singh says, "If this is confirmed as a hate crime then I think we have a broader responsibility as a society. Then it's about the environment that we've created where we separate Americans out from other Americans. We create an other and we really have to address and look at those pieces."

Filed under: Sikh temple shooting
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