Some Houston Sikhs not surprised by attack

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 5:46 PM

HOUSTON—Members of Houston’s Indian community are asking the same question: Could the Wisconsin killer have been as ignorant as he was ruthless?

Sikhs say their long beards and turbans have caused people to mistake them for Muslims in the past.

"The connection is not there, people are not getting educated," said Amit Bagga, a local engineer from India. "This is unacceptable."

At the Sikh Center in northwest Harris County, leaders have been praying, despite their anger. Since September 11, 2001, they say Sikhs have been targeted in hundreds of incidents.

In Mesa, Ariz., a gas station attendant named Balbir Singh Sodhi was murdered when a gunman mistook him for being of Arab descent. Closer to Houston, Sikhs have been beaten with pipes.

Many of them say that what happened on Sunday was simply one more attack.

"I don’t know whether we Sikhs have to give more blood before we are understood," said Hardam Singh Azad of the Sikh Center Houston.

He said it is uncomfortable to be constantly distinguishing himself from Muslims, who he is not against. Following the horror in Wisconsin, he hopes that distinction finally sticks.

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