A call for peace after shooting rocks Sikh community - FOX 13 News

A call for peace after shooting rocks Sikh community

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To live life as a Sikh is to live a peaceful life.

"We are totally devoted to peaceful living, working for others, living in total harmony with others," said Tampa Gurdwara Head Priest Mohan Singh.

That's why Sunday's shooting at a Milwaukee area Sikh Temple, or Gurdwara as they call it, was so hard to fathom for local Sikhs in Thonotosassa.

"Of course, we are, as a member of the Sikh community and as a member of the human community, I think we should all be concerned about such a tragic act," said Harbhajan Singh of Tampa Gurdwara.

The Sikh religion has been in existence since 1469.

It started in India, and they say one thing has remained constant since then: Sikhs are devoted to peace and getting along with others.

"The message of the Guru Nanek, who was the founder of this religion, was to create an environment in which all religions could flourish side by side, live together," said Mohan Singh.

It's believed there are between two and three hundred Sikh families living in the Tampa Bay region.

Many learned of the shooting while worshiping at the Gurdwara early Sunday afternoon.

"It's just an act where it's unthinkable and unacceptable to any human being with any kind of a sense, it's very difficult to understand," said Harbhajan Singh.

At this point, there's no clear motive for the Milwaukee area shooting that left seven dead, including the gunman.

Many Gurdwaras across the country are looking to step up security just in case this was a crime targeting Sikhs, something that crossed the minds of the leaders of the Tampa Gurdwara.

"Events like this may waken us to the fact that we should look at these things more carefully," said Harbhajan Singh.

But security would likely fly in the face of what these people believe in so for the time being they say they will trust that God will protect them.

"This is an open place, everybody's welcome," said Harbhajan Singh.

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