A Gurdwara in the US state of California has organised an open house and welcomed hundreds of people in a bid to spread awareness about the religion, weeks after it was defaced with a swastika graffiti in an apparent hate crime.
On January 13, the priest of Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara Sahib in Orangevale saw words "White Power" and a swastika graffitied onto the sign out front and informed police.
On Saturday, members of the minority community welcomed hundreds of people from different backgrounds, religions and races to an open house and lunch to reject the hate-fuelled message, The Sacramento Bee news website reported.
"To see everyone come here in solidarity, shoulder to shoulder, is very uplifting. It's very encouraging. We are one," a community member, Jashan Singh, told the people.
Donning turban, the community members welcomed people and served them vegetarian food including Chana Sabji (gram gravy) and Daal (lentil).
In California, there are about 300,000 Sikhs, according to the local temple, and about 40,000 in the Sacramento Valley alone, the report said. The open house was organised to educate people about Sikhism and their religious practices.
Open house organiser Dimple Bhullar said: "We just want to make sure everyone knows who we are welcoming them and educating them".
Bhullar said the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and the FBI are investigating the case of vandalism. Indian-American Congressman Ami Bara had criticised the vandalism, saying "I strongly condemn the racist graffiti spray painted at a Sikh house of worship in Orangevale".
In a statement, Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund, the oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organisation, had condemned the hate speech that defaced the Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara Sahib in Orangevale.