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American Sikhs a small, misunderstood community

Sikhs in the United States have always struggled with how little Americans knew about the faith.

Sikhs began arriving in California and the Pacific Northwest as farmers and lumber mill workers in the late 19th century. In 1907, a mob in Bellingham, Wash., ran them out of town.

They came to the U.S. in larger numbers in the 1960s when the government eased immigration quotas. Analysts estimate the number of Sikhs in the United States is no more than 500,000.

Sikhs say they are so misunderstood in the United States that they've become targets of hate crimes for events ranging from the Iranian hostage crisis to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Authorities are calling the massacre Sunday at the temple in suburban Milwaukee an act of domestic terrorism against the Sikhs.

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