Community Shocked by Sikh Temple Shooting

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MTT News Desk's picture
Matt Geiger
Local Sikhs were joined by people from other faith traditions for a religious service, candlelight vigil and communal meal, two nights after the shooting.

Local members of the Sikh community were joined by the city as they reacted to reports that white supremacist Wade Michael Page opened fire and killed six people at a religious center in Oak Creek on Sunday, Aug. 5.

The City of Middleton is home to the Sikh Society of Wisconsin-Madison’s gurudwara, or temple. Bimal Pangli described the Century Avenue building as her family’s “second home,” where followers of the faith can go to find serenity.

Bakhshinder Singh, a priest at the Middleton gurudwara, called the shooting a “tragedy.”

“This is a place where we pray for everyone,” he said, shaking his head. “This is very sad.”

On Tuesday night, the Middleton Common Council approved a resolution supporting the Sikh community and expressing condolences for the victims in Oak Creek, which is about two hours east of the Good Neighbor City.

“Middleton residents were horrified to learn of the senseless violence suffered by the community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, on Sunday, August 5,” the resolution declared.

“The Middleton Common Council, on behalf of the Middleton community, expresses its continued support for members of the Middleton Sikh temple in the aftermath of this tragic event,” the document, which was approved unanimously, continued.

The city called on “all members of the Middleton and greater Madison area to renew our commitments to peace and non-violence and to request positive thoughts, prayers and condolences for the victims of the tragic events in Oak Creek.”

The Middleton gurudwara is the primary place of worship for more than 200 people. Every Sunday, its rooms fill with the sounds of families and smells of sweet and savory foods as local Sikhs enjoy a convivial, communal meal.

The day after the Oak Creek shooting, the temple was quiet as Pangli spoke with local reporters about the shooting.

“A lot of people are saying this might have been done because [Sikhs in Oak Creek] were being confused with Muslims,” she said,  “but for any faith to be targeted like this is just wrong.”




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