SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) today offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals who gunned down two elderly Sikh men on Friday in Elk Grove, Calif. One of the men died at the scene of the shooting, while the other remains hospitalized in critical condition.
The two men, one age 65 and the other age 78, were gunned down while walking through their neighborhood. Both wore traditional Sikh beards and turbans. Local police say that while there is no evidence suggesting that hate was a motive for the shootings, no evidence points to an alternative motive. A possible bias motive is under investigation.
Elk Grove Police Chief Robert Lehner said in a statement: "We have no evidence to indicate there was a hate or bias motivation for this crime; however, the obvious Sikh appearance of the men, including the traditional Dastar headwear and lack of any other apparent motive, increasingly raise that possibility."
SEE: Attack on Two Sikh Men Seen as Possible Hate Crime (Sac Bee)
"The Muslim community offers its condolences and support to the Sikh community in this time of sorrow," said CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra. "We will offer a $5,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators."
Elkarra noted that Sikh men in beards and turbans are often targeted for discrimination by bigots who mistake them for Muslims.
Last fall, CAIR-SV called for an FBI investigation of an attack on a Sikh cab driver in West Sacramento. The driver said passengers made anti-Muslim remarks during the attack. Two men were later arrested on charges of felony assault and commission of a hate crime.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, [email protected]
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations