UPDATE: Wisconsin Temple Shooting Touches Sikh Communities

The Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington in Renton serves about 25,000 Sikhs in the area.

The  Sunday morning that left seven dead, including the shooter, is reaching communities far beyond Oak Creek, Wis.

According to police, three bodies were found outside the temple in Oak Creek and four were inside the building. At least three others were injured, including the first police officer who responded to the incident.

Sikh communities around the country, including the  in Renton, were touched by Sunday's violence, . 

“Our prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in this senseless shooting,” said Paramjit Singh of Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington. “We are grateful for the bravery of the police officers that responded and prevented this from becoming an even bigger tragedy.”

"We're feeling really sad right now because of the shooting," , one of the directors at the Sikh Gurdwara Temple in San Jose, the largest in North America. "It's tragic it happened in a religious place. We condemn all shootings, including the one in Colorado. We're peace loving people and we live in harmony with other communities."  

And in Iowa,  thoughtfully on the shootings: "I won't fight it," said Jeevanjot Singh. "I won't get angry. I'll just pray that it won't happen again."

The temple in Renton serves about 25,000 Sikhs, according to its website.

Singh said racial profiling in the form of violent hate crimes, employment discrimination, school bullying and even secondary screenings at the airports faced by Sikhs, Muslims and other communities that appear Middle Eastern are a daily reminder of the climate of xenophobia in America.

“This incident highlights the post 9/11 climate and must be used as an opportunity to have a broader dialogue on religious pluralism in America,” Singh said. “We need a national dialogue to dispel the ignorance that causes some communities to be targeted and feel like second-class citizens in their own country.”

Patch also reached out to the Gurudwara Sikh Centre of Seattle based in Bothell, but it was not available for comments on Sunday.

If you're looking for information resources on the Sikh community, the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle hosted a special exhibition in 2005-2006 on the 100-plus-year history of Sikhs in the Pacific Northwest.

We ask you, Patch readers, when something violent happens such as this shooting or the recent movie theater shootings in Colorado, how do you talk about it with your family? Do you let your children watch news coverage on TV or online? Do you discuss what might have caused it, safety issues, or communities that might be different than your own? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Margaret Santjer August 08, 2012 at 09:21 PM
A vigil of remembrance is planned for Saturday in Renton. You can find details here: http://renton.patch.com/articles/renton-vigil-planned-to-remember-wisconsin-sikh-temple-shooting-victims
Margaret, Thanks for sharing the info, it is good to know people care. I wanted to share this great write up which describes "Sikhs" in plain and simple English, do read it perhaps it will give a better understanding of what / who we are. http://princeofpunjab.blogspot.com/2012/08/dear-wade-michael-page.html?m=1 Thanks and good night all.
CT August 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM
So many shootings take place - and I don't think this can be classified as hate crime. The shooter shot himself to death as well at the end - movie massacre does not mean theatres are in danger or theater owners are at fault. No way. There is no need to sensitize this kind of shooting and Iam sure the Sikh community has the protection that it deserves.
Michelle Smith August 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I was really impressed by this. Thank you for sharing, Gurinder.
Laurie Miller August 09, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Faith, politics, mental status, fanaticism, lack of tolerance.....what it boils down to is man's inhumanity to man. Life is a gift no matter the faith, political view, et al. When we as human beings begin to acknowledge, trust and understand this...the world would be a much better place. We may not be able to control others in their thought, word or deed, but we can control ourselves by re-addressing our own thoughts, actions and perspectives. Life so is so very precious that as like with many things in this world, we waste it unnecessarily. Is it so hard to agree to disagree and reach out a hand in friendship? Not one to look through rose colored glasses at life and the world. But sometimes, the answer is far more simple than we choose to believe.


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