US: Afghan-Embassy holds memorial-service for Hindus, Sikhs killed in Afghanistan
The Afghan Embassy in Washington held a memorial service on Sunday for the members of the minority communities of Hindus and Sikhs killed recently in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan. At least 19 were killed on July 1 when a suicide-bomber targeted a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus on their way to meet Afghanistan's President in Jalalabad. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hindus, Sikhs are original residents of Afghanistan: Afghan Ambassador
"For many, they often think of the minority Hindus and Sikhs as migrants from India. But in reality, the Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan are the original residents of Afghanistan" Afghanistan Ambassador to the US Hamdullah Mohib said.
Officials, well-wishers recite eulogy; condole deaths of victims
Sena Lund, President of the New York-based Afghan Hindu association, read out the names of the 18 slain leaders. Asha Kapoor of Asamai Hindu Mandir of Washington, recited a speech in Dari, the official language of Afghanistan, to commemorate the victims. Puneet Kundal, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Washington, condoled of the loss of lives in the dreadful violence.
Hindu Congresswoman calls attack an example of bigotry and hatred
Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, said that this brutal attack was yet another example of the fear, bigotry, and hatred that sadly exists in the world. "During the Taliban regime, Hindus and Sikhs were forced to wear yellow patches to identify themselves in public, furthering extreme prejudice, and eventually forcing many to seek asylum in India," she said.
Must confront hatred with love, darkness with light: Gabbard
"These fear tactics and attacks attempt to divide us, but we cannot give in. We must confront hatred with love, fear with understanding and darkness with light. We must continue to stand up to hatred in Afghanistan, and all around the world," Gabbard said.
Attack was a terrible blow to international community: US diplomat
US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said the loss of these community leaders was a terrible blow, not only to Afghanistan but also to the international community. "The Sikh and Hindu communities have a long and distinguished heritage and this horrific attack will not diminish that. Our office will continue to monitor the conditions faced by religious minorities in Afghanistan," he said.
Traditional Sikh hymns were sung in the memorial service
Sounds of sacred traditional Sikh hymns, sung by leaders of a local Washington gurdwara and the National Sikh Campaign, filled the air. "We, at the Hindu American Foundation, pledge to be with you every step of the way as Hindus and Sikhs seek full enfranchisement in Afghan society," said Jay Kansara of the Foundation, which helped organize the event by the Afghan Hindu Association.