Michelle Obama to meet gurdwara shooting victims’ families (Lead)

August 19th, 2012 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 19 (IANS) In an effort to reach out to the Sikh Community, US first lady Michelle Obama will next week meet the families of the victims of the Wisconsin gurdwara shooting.

The first lady is scheduled to travel to Milwaukee Aug 23 as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to reach out to the Sikh community shattered by the Aug 5 shooting at the Oak Creek gurdwara, the White House has announced.

Michelle Obama would be meeting the victims and family members of those who were killed in the tragic incident, it said.

Welcoming the “kind gesture” from the first family, Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council, said: “It is great to hear that the first lady will be comforting the families devastated by the violence in the Sikh gurdwaras motivated by hate.”

“It is important that these families hear first hand how she and the president feel about this terrible tragedy,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

“It is indeed critical that the top leadership acts in such a dignified manner to heal the raw wounds of the families and the entire Sikh community,” Singh said.

“A visit by the first lady will be reassuring and heartening and it will be powerful symbol of President Obama embracing the Sikhs at this serious juncture,” he said.

Singh called it “not a Sikh tragedy but an American tragedy”.

Six worshippers, including four Indians, were killed and four others, including a police officer, were injured in the shooting by an alleged white supremacist, Wade Michael Page, who later killed himself.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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