Sikh community condemns vandalism at Surrey Hindu temple, hate crime or not

Published: June 24, 2013

Hindu temple president Parshottam Goel (L) and WSO of Canada president Prem Vinning look at damages after vandals smashed windows at the temple on 140th St. Sunday June 23. Submitted photo / World Sikh Organization of Canada

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

If the recent act of vandalism against a Surrey Hindu temple turns out to be a hate crime, it will only make the local community stronger.

“If they’re trying to cause friction between the two communities – I don’t think they’re going to succeed,” said World Sikh Organization of Canada president, Prem Vinning. “Acts like that only will bring us closer together where we stand up for one another as Canadians.”

Vinning first heard of the vandalism on Sunday and immediately went to visit Parshottam Goel, president of Surrey’s Vedic Hindu Cultural Society, that evening.

It was early Sunday morning that security cameras at the Lakshmi Narayan Temple caught two men, who appear to be Indo-Canadian, walk up to the temple on 140th St., shatter the windows with a baseball bat and flee the scene.

According to Goel, the culprits left behind the baseball bat, which had a Sikh symbol on it, leading him to believe it was a hate crime.

“It’s a small community and when something like that happens it’s a concern to me as a community member and also as the president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada,” said Vinning. “We’re part of the same community in Surrey … the Hindi and the Sikh communities live very peacefully here.”

“There’s a lot of people who share business and family and relationships and so forth.”

But Vinning isn’t yet prepared to label it a hate crime, as Surrey RCMP stated they do not have enough information to investigate it as one, so they’re treating it as mischief.

However, it’s still a concern for Vinning.

“It’s a concern to me and it’s in my neighbourhood,” he said. “It’s absolutely not acceptable.”

“I wanted (Goel) to be assured that we won’t tolerate that kind of violence on any place of worship whether it be Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Sikh … or any other faith. We will stand united.”

“As Canadians we shouldn’t be tolerating any form of violence.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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