Sikh House of Worship Vandalized in Sterling Heights
with Anti-Muslim Graffiti
By Niraj Warikoo – Detroit Free Press
A Sikh house of worship in Sterling Heights under construction was vandalized with what appears to be anti-Muslim graffiti.
The Sikh building, known as a gurdwara, was defaced sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning, a Sikh advocacy group said today. Some of the graffiti reads: “Don’t Builed” and “Mohmed,” which seems to refer to Islam’s prophet, Mohammed. The graffiti also included a Christian cross, a pistol, and the letters R and A. It’s unclear what the letters refer to.
In the West, Sikh men are sometimes confused for being Muslim because they wear full beards and turbans. Over the past ten years, some Sikhs in the U.S. have been victims of violent bias attacks because they’re wrongly perceived to be Muslim. Based in India, Sikhism arose about 300 years ago and now has about 25 million adherents.
Jasjit Singh of the Sikh American Legal Defense Education Fund, said: “attacks and vandalism against any of the nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by all Americans.”
Singh asked anyone who has information about the incident to call Sterling Heights police at (586) 446-2800. The Sikh house of worship is on Dequindre Rd. just north of 14 Mile.
Singh added: “We call upon local and federal law enforcement agencies to rightfully classify this incident as a hate crime.”
The Michigan chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Jewish Committee also condemned the vandalism.
“We condemn the vandalism of the Sikh house of worship in Sterling Heights and call on local and federal law enforcement to use their full resources to apprehend the perpetrators of this hate crime,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Muslim council.
“The attack on any house of worship in our community is despicable, and we are pained to see the Sikh community targeted,” said Kari Alterman of the Jewish committee. We look to law enforcement to investigate this act, and arrest those responsible.”