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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8706

Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (13:54): I rise today to offer my condolences to those affected by the recent shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, in which six worshippers were killed, and to acknowledge the grief felt by the large Sikh community whom I am privileged to represent in this place.

The Greenway electorate is a diverse and multicultural part of Western Sydney, an electorate which includes a similar gurudwara in Glenwood, where I live, and which is home to almost 5,000 people of Sikh faith. The Sikh community of Greenway and Australia generally are understandably shocked and distressed by this mindless loss of their innocent fellow believers abroad. In the wake of this tragedy, the Glenwood gurudwara became not just a place of worship but a place of mourning for Sikh brothers and sisters. In the words of Sikh Youth Australia President Mr Satwant Singh Calais:

Sikh Youth Australia will join Sikhs all over Australia in prayers for the departed and those who have been hurt. Our condolences go to all those who have suffered as a result of this tragedy. May the Almighty give all the strength to move forward from this sad event.

Sikhism is a progressive faith that preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of God. As I have often stated publicly, many values of Sikhism are strongly aligned with those we all desire on a personal and national level. So my thoughts are with all members of the Sikh faith at this sad time.

On this day, 15 August, which is also Indian Independence Day, I express my deepest regret at this tragedy and reaffirm my commitment to the Sikh community whom I represent in the federal parliament.