Newly-opened Sikh temple property vandalized in US
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.
A newly-opened Sikh temple in California has been defaced with racist graffiti, a day after its official grand opening.
Vandals spray-painted swastikas and the words “white power” on the stone marking the entrance to the Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Centre on Walnut Avenue in Orangevale, northeast of Sacramento.
“This is racism. This is a hate crime. This is unfortunately something no one should have to go through, no community, no religion,” said volunteer Dimplejeet Bhullar.
A neighbor noticed the vandalism on Monday, reported CNN affiliate KCRA. He saw it while walking his dog and put a tarp over the vandalism.
The graffiti was removed later.
“We're a very peaceful religion. We accept all religions and expect that we would be perceived the same way,” Bhullar said.
Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said: "We must all stand up against hate in our communities. We are here to support the Sikh community and encourage any witnesses to come forward with information about this hate attack on a house of worship."
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is investigating the vandalism as a hate crime, Sgt. Tess Deterding told CNN. She said they have no information about a suspect.
The building doesn't have any outside markers signifying that it's a Sikh temple, Deterding said, adding it's possible the vandal thought it was a Jewish temple or other building.
California has one of the largest populations of Sikhs in the US. Yuba City, about an hour's drive away from Orangevale, draws around 100,000 people for its annual Nagar Kirtan parade, a Sikh festival.