British Columbia

Kelowna Sikh leader urges people to speak up about racism after gurdwara hit by graffiti

Amanpreet Singh Hundal, B.C. vice president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, says people are looking for positives after the crime, and for ways to better connect with the broader Kelowna community.

'We all have a responsibility,' Amanpreet Singh Hundal says, adding attack is an opportunity to educate

The graffiti scrawled on a wall at the Gurdwara Guru Amardas Darbar Sikh Society was discovered on Monday by the congregation. (Gurdwara )

A leader in Kelowna's Sikh community says emotions are still raw after racist graffiti was found on the wall of the local gurdwara.

However, Amanpreet Singh Hundal, B.C. vice-president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, says people are looking for positives after the crime, and for ways to better connect with the broader Kelowna community.

"I was very surprised that in 2018 this type of event would take place," Hundal told Radio West host Sarah Penton.

"It's just an opportunity for us to do a lot more education."

Amanpreet Singh Hundal is B.C. vice president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada. (Amanpreet Singh Hundal)

The graffiti scrawled on a wall at the Gurdwara Guru Amardas Darbar Sikh Society was discovered on Monday by the congregation.

Hundal said it's not the first time the gurdwara has been vandalized.

A previous incident of graffiti was not reported, but this time police were notified "in case it escalates."

Hundal said the incident has some wondering what more can be done to show that the Sikh community belongs in Kelowna.

It stretches back more than 100 years, explained Hundal, who was born in northern B.C., and is well integrated with the local community, with the kids of the congregation active in local hockey and soccer, for example.

He said the community has always tried to stay positive and believes few people in Kelowna hold hateful views.

His hope is that awareness of this incident with inspire others to speak out when they hear racism.

"That's your chance to not be silent… We all have a responsibility," he said. "That's an opportunity for us."

Listen to the full interview:

With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West

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