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August 7, 2012

Young Sikh Responds to Temple Tragedy

sikh memorial

On Sunday August 5, 2012 an alleged gunman approached a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and killed six worshipers before being stopped by law enforcement officers. The heroic actions of temple members and police saved the lives of many more in the Sikh community, who have sometimes faced discrimination because of their clothing and appearance.

This terrible incident has shone a spotlight on the Sikh community in the United States, and garnered support and sympathy from people of all backgrounds throughout the country. Tarina, a young American Sikh girl, wanted to share her thoughts on the tragedy, and tell people what Sikhism means to her.

I am writing in regards to what happened in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I think what happened was a really bad thing. Sikhs believe that God is one and we respect all religions.

I would like to share a Sikh tradition in our temple which emphasizes equality among all human beings. First we pray, then we have food together, which is called Langar. The special thing about Langar is that everyone, regardless of race, cast, religion or amount of wealth eats together. I think it’s really sad that the attack happened at the time of Langar preparation.

Tarina is 10 years old and lives in Washington, D.C.

Tarina is 10 years old and lives in Washington, D.C.

Sikhs never want to hurt anybody, so I don’t know why Mr. Page wanted to hurt the Sikhs. I am really confused that an army veteran, who is supposed to protect us, is the one who would want to hurt us. We, Sikhs are people who are peaceful and try to be good citizens. It hurts me… and all the Sikhs that something like this can happen in our country, as we are all brothers and sisters.

We can only imagine the feelings of the people at the temple (Gurudwara) had at that time. I keep wondering what the kids might have felt that day. We Sikh kids are taught that temple is a safe place of worship, and it’s horrible to think that this incident happened at God’s home. We are also taught to respect everyone and every religion, and something like this goes against our beliefs.

We are not a violent religion. We believe in peace and humanity. We believe in community service. My mom has involved me in different projects to help others.

I would like to thank the Wisconsin police department, the paramedics, nurses and doctors for helping those who were hurt. They are always going to be in our prayers. Also, I would like to share that the police officer who was shot is my hero. He is the image of a true American and a good person. He is my role model and I want to be brave and kind like him when I grow up.

I hope you read my letter and share it with others so they can learn about our religion and know about our feelings on this horrible incident.

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