A Sikh temple in Perth has been vandalised with Islamophobic graffiti.
The newly built temple in Bennett Springs, near Beechboro, was painted with the words “Aussie pride” and “go home” as well as more obscene messages. Security cameras were also damaged.
The incident follows the targeting of two Perth mosques and an Islamic school 10 days ago, which were painted with slogans including “ban Islam”.
Sikhs are neither Muslim nor Arab but part of a religion that originated in India.
Temple pastor Satjit Singh said the vandalism was very upsetting and the damage could cost up to $50,000 to repair.
“We are from India, particularly from Punjab, we have got no relation with any other religion,” he said.
“We are Sikhs and our religion is totally different from any other religion.
“I’m ashamed because I’m also a citizen and someone who is a citizen here has done it.
“It hurts me, and I believe it’s insulting to the Australian community and the people.”
Graffiti was “hurtful”
Temple treasurer Aman Deep Singh said it was very hurtful.
“Whoever has done this, he has done a shameful act, and also, please get your knowledge right,” he said.
“Make the difference between Arabs and Sikhs and above all we all are here, we have left our businesses, jobs.
“They have done so much damage.”
The treasurer said the vandalism damaged Australia, not just the temple.
“They have not actually just done the damage to this temple, they have done the damage to the whole country,” Mr Singh said.
“They are damaging the progress of the country by doing these shameful acts. So guys, please act right.”
He also appealed to the vandals.
“If you need to paint anything I’m happy to give you canvases, painting materials, anything,” Aman Deep Singh joked.
“Please don’t do it like this, it’s not good.
“We can sit together if you have any questions regarding our religion, our identity and everything, happy to help, please don’t do this.”
Labor MP Margaret Quirk said the racial slurs showed “complete … ignorance”.
“Most of the people that worship in this temple are in fact Australian citizens and this of all weeks; it’s particularly shocking,” she said.
“Sikh soldiers were beside Aussie soldiers at Gallipoli and so this week of course we remember that it’s the centenary of our soldiers going to Gallipoli and we serve next to many soldiers who were of the Sikh religion who were also on that campaign and representatives of the Sikh community actually march in the ANZAC day parade.
“It’s confusing the Sikh religion with the Islamic religion.
“It would be no less acceptable if this was done on a mosque but it does show the calibre of the people that are doing this graffiti.
“I think racially and religiously motivated vilification and graffiti should be stamped on immediately … so on behalf of the West Australian community I certainly want to apologise to my friends in the Sikh community that they have to put up with this rubbish.”