Muslim leaders and community members joined hundreds of others on August 5th to condemn the Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton that left 51 dead and scores injured. Representatives of more than 35 organizations, elected officials, and concerned citizens gathered in solidarity at Walker Square Park in the near south side of Milwaukee.
Daryl Morin of Forward Latino, an advocacy group and Pardeep Kaleka, the new executive director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee organized the gathering. The date was of particular importance because it represented the 7th anniversary of the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. This is the largest terrorist act in Wisconsin history and was also committed by a white supremacist. Wade Michael Page killed himself after killing 6 members of the Sikh community, including Kaleka’s father, who was the Sikh Temple president at the time.
Elected officials, faith leaders and representatives of various organizations stood together as each one stepped in from of the microphone to express their frustration at the senseless murders, lax gun laws and a culpable president who’s continuous hate rhetoric and anti-immigrant policies has emboldened white supremacists and created intense divisions in this country. One speaker after another called for stiffer gun laws and the banning of assault weapons. Many cited a report that came out that day indicating that there had been 251 mass shootings in America in the first 219 days. That is more than one mass shooting each day.
Ahmed Quereshi, who represents the Islamic Society of Milwaukee on the Interfaith Cabinet Board, spoke on behalf of the Muslim community.