Louisville's Sikh community shocked after deadly Wisconsin temple shooting
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Out of 25 million Sikh's in the world, a very small fraction live here Kentucky. In the wake of the temple shooting in Wisconsin, feelings of shock, sadness and wondering why are in the hearts of some in the Sikh population in our area.
Sunday, inside Kentucky's first and only Sikh temple, the violence in Wisconsin hits close to home. It is sending shock waves through Kentuckiana's Sikh community. At the Gurudwara of the Sikh Society of Kentucky, hymn was sung hours after a gunmen shot and killed 6 people in a Sikh temple hundreds of miles away.
"We are really shocked," said Dr. Daya Singh Sandu, President of the Sikh Society of Louisville. He is also a professor at the University Of Louisville. "That's really tragic. If there's no peace in God's home, where else can you find (it)?"
This congregation said a prayer after learning of the shootings. Dr. Sandu said the acts of violence in Wisconsin should make others look within.
"I think we have to look into ourselves. Re-examine," said Dr. Sandu. "What is really going on? What's wrong in the society and the culture we live (in)?"
The Sikh religion began in India. It is a monotheistic faith. Dr. Sandu said Sikhs preach a message of peace and welcome everyone. Of the 700,000 Sikhs in the United States, less than 100 families are in Kentucky. This temple just began April 14th. Dr. Amargit Singh Chopra is a psychiatrist and a member of Louisville's Sikh temple. He said misconceptions exist.
"They may mistake us to be Muslim. Arabic, Egyptian, Iranian. The Taliban. No," said Dr. Chopra. "We are a different identity. We are Sikhs."
The violence also impacts communities of other faiths, said Executive Director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, Terry Taylor.
"Whenever anyone of us is attacked or our religion is attacked, then we are all under attack," Taylor said. "So, we must stand together as one body at a time like this and I think here in Louisville, we do that."
Dr. Sandu said "I think it's a lesson for us that prejudice and hatred among other people is not gone yet. We have made a lot of progress in this country, but there is a lot more to do."
Dr. Chopra said in the wake of the violence, he hopes this brings people of all faiths together so they can learn from each other.
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