“Our doors and our hearts are open.”

THAT was the message United Sikhs and members of the local Sikh community sent to the residents of Manchester, England, after a deadly suicide bombing claimed the lives of 22 people.

The attack happened Monday, during a concert in Manchester Arena; 64 were injured by the blast, several of them children. Many Sikhs in the area acted as first responders; providing comfort and relief in any way they could. Some brought concertgoers to nearby gurdwaras, where shelter, hot meals (langar) and other assistance were offered immediately after the attack. Others Sikhs offered free taxi rides after transport in the city was shut down.

 

 

 

 

“I’ve picked up and dropped off people who were looking for their loved ones. I’ve taken them to the hospital, and anywhere else they needed to go as they would’ve otherwise been stranded,” said AJ Singh, a taxi driver in Manchester.

On Tuesday, the Sikh community served refreshments and stood in solidarity with the thousands who gathered in Albert Square to pray and pay tribute during a community vigil. Upon arrival at the vigil, the Sikh community received a warm welcome from the local residents.

“A lady told one of our United Sikhs volunteers that they would always remember the Sikh community because of its outreach and service. It’s important that during these times, we do not let hate win. We must pray and unite with those who are hurting to ensure that love always prevails,” Sun Kaur, of United Sikhs said.

United Sikhs asks that all members of the Sikh community, supporters and residents of the United Kingdom be prayerful and vigilant — but not afraid.

“Let’s not allow these deplorable events instil fear into our daily lives. United Sikhs stands with the entire British Sikh community, in solidarity and defiance of cowardly attacks on children (and adults). We will keep the faith and never fear,” said Sun Kaur of United Sikhs.