'Alarming and of the utmost concern': Edmonton Sikh community speaks out over racist harassment

Members of Edmonton's Sikh community is calling for action after they say a local place of worship has been harassed for months with racist and hateful taunts. 

In a Facebook post Wednesday, local Sikh youth organization Sangat Youth said members of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Mill Woods had been subject to daily threatening phone calls. 

"The content of these calls includes racial slurs, harassment and anti-Sikh sentiments," a statement from the group reads. 

"These events are alarming and of the utmost concern for the community."

It says the harassment started in March and has also involved multiple deliveries of meat products, including pizzas and meat sandwiches, to the building. Consumption of meat is forbidden by the Sikh faith while inside a gurdwara.

"We don't really understand why we're getting these," said Gurpreet Kaur with Sundat Youth. "Everyone is unsettled and really hurt." 

Kaur says the gurdwara is working alongside the Edmonton Police hate crimes unit and is asking anyone with information to come forward. 

"This hasn't happened before," she said. "We' don't know what the next step will be." 

Mayor Don Iveson called the account "deeply disturbing" and said he would be reaching out to the gurdwara. 

Please read my statement on the targeted harassment of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara community. #yeg #Edmonton https://t.co/MyQ6wxyd4x pic.twitter.com/3yXIqLuyH6

— Don Iveson (@doniveson) July 2, 2021

In recent months, Edmonton has seen a rash of apparent hate-motivated attacks on visible minorities, mainly Muslim women.