Rochester Area Sikh Community Reacts to Temple Shooting
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It's an attack that hit too close to home for some in Rochester's Sikh community.
"It's happened at a movie theater it happened at a church. Are we safe anywhere," question Simrat Dhaliwal, local Sikh.
Seventeen-year-old Dhaliwal also questions why the temple shooting, that resulted in six people killed, even happened.
"Until we don't find out why it exactly happened we can't just jump off conclusions, we can't just assume things," she said.
For many in the Sikh community, its assumptions by others that's been challenging.
"After 9/11, Osama Bin Laden was shown on TV and he had the turban and the flowing beard. We also have similar appearance but it's a completely different religion. We have no connection with Al-Qaeda or terrorism," said Ajay Singh, local Sikh.
Singh says because of ignorance, the Sikh religion can sometimes be a target for hate crimes.
"There had been incidents after 9/11 because of mistaken identity, lack of knowledge or ignorance you can say," said Singh.
Singh leads Sunday service at a rented out space in Henrietta where about 100 Sikhs meet every week. He says Sikhism is a fairly new religion, only practiced for the past 500 years.
It's practiced by at least 150 families in Monroe County.
"In some areas like Wisconsin or Rochester, there isn't a great population. I think that's where the lack of knowledge comes in from because we are not out there yet," said Singh.
He and other Sikh members hope this tragedy will create awareness about their religion to prevent another act of violence.
"We condemn any action of terrorism whether it's done by Sikhs or non Sikhs, anybody because we are peace-loving people," said Parminder Singh Soch, local Sikh.
And as they prepare to gather this Sunday for service, members say their hearts and their mind will be focused on the lives lost and several wounded in the shooting.
"This coming Sunday we have decided to do a memorial also, in which we will pay our homage to the parting souls," said Soch.
The service is expected to take place at 3259 S. Winton Rd from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., August 12th.