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Calls for More Education, Prayers for Healing After Oak Creek Sikh Temple Shooting

Reaction from around the country calls for more education about the Sikh community and prayers for healing after seven people - including the alleged shooter - were killed Sunday at an Oak Creek Sikh Temple.

As spread across the country, both Sikhs and non-Sikhs shared their concerns and sadness at the event.

The attack , coming a year after in a case that still is unsolved, and amid an ongoing campaign by community leaders to convince the FBI to .

“The Sacramento Sikh Community, like our brother and sisters across the country, is dismayed to learn of the horrible tragedy unfolding in the Milwaukee area today,” Darshan Mundy, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Sikh Temple, said in a statement. “The Sikh community has been the subject of many attacks over the years and since 9-11. At times like this, we must rely on our faith and join as a community to deal with this tragedy.”

Shortly after the tragedy unfolded, the Sikh American Legal Defense Education Fund, issued a statement thanking people for their thoughts and prayers and urging peace and religious tolerance:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the Oak Creek community following this tragic attack at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara.  The Sikh American community, like all Americans,  is shocked after this attack.  We mourn the loss of those killed today and pray for the swift recovery of the those injured, including the veteran police officer who put himself in harms way to protect his community.

"Houses of worship, like the gurdwara, are places of peace. Attacks at any of the nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by all Americans. This type of crime strikes at the very foundation of religious tolerance, the principle upon which this country was built.

"We thank our friends and neighbors from across the country for the outpouring of support and condolences as we come together to recover from the attack."

In fact, the in the city.

"We need protection here, too," said Jaswinder Singh, a committee member at Guru Nanak Sikh Society of Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. "We’re not feeling safe. ... Everyone is calling and contacting the committee, asking if it's safe to come to the temple."

A 12-year-old member of the Sikh Temple of Iowa in West Des Moines .

"It's tragic, and probably a misconception of who we are," Jeevanjot Singh said. "I think it's because of the turbans, and the stereotype that people who wear turbans are Muslim, and after 9/11, people think Muslims are bad."

In a story from the Associated Press, the Sikh Coalition in Washington said more than 700 reports of incidents involving Sikhs, possibly because they are often mistaken for Muslims who often mistaken for extremists.

, whose parents are practicing Sikhs, posted this message on her Facebook Page:

"It's very sad to see something like this happen to a peaceful place of worship. Our prayers and condolences go out to the families of the innocent victims and the family of the heroic officer in this senseless tragedy," Haley said via her Facebook page.

Her father, though, declined to comment even though he is reportedly a Temple elder.

Malkit Singh Gill, president of the New England Sikh Study Circle in Milford, MA .

“I need to be thinking about what the next step is for the temple. We are hard-working, peace-loving people and it’s sad that one person is trying to put fear in to us,” Gill said.

James R Hoffa August 05, 2012 at 11:11 PM
The only education necessary is that it is wrong to kill innocent people - which should be a no-brainer!

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