Minnesota Sikhs in State of 'Confusion' After Temple Shooting
Members of the Indian religion that has close ties to Fridley are worried about the racial dimension to Sunday's fatal shooting in Wisconsin.
In the aftermath of the deadly attack on the Oak Creek, WI, Sikh Temple, Kehar Singh—an Edina resident and former president of the Sikh Society of Minnesota—feels fortunate that the gunman didn’t arrive a little later.
Singh’s brother-in-law and his family were preparing for services Sunday morning at the time of the shooting, which left at least seven dead and three others injured, and weren’t scheduled to arrive until just before the start of the 11:30 a.m. service.
“He came in when there were not many people,” Singh said. “If he came after 11:30, it would have been a disaster because then there would have been 400, 500 people there, so from that standpoint we can take satisfaction that he came in early.”
Singh has seen the Sikh community of Minnesota grow from fewer than 50 families when he moved to the state in 1982 to about 500 families today.
Singh said the Minnesota Sikh community is in a state of confusion about Sunday’s shooting.
“For the time being because all the information is not available, all we are doing is speculating and saying it’s an isolated incident,” he said.
Police are treating the attack as “a domestic terrorist-type incident,” and Singh said there are concerns about racial motivations.
The attack is “more or less educating the public on what we are, what our religious philosophy is and what we practice, because there is a confusion that stems from 9/11 where people confuse our faith with some of the fanatic Muslims who did all those bad things,” he said. “The problem is painting everybody with the same brush, thinking that all Muslims are bad and then, because all Muslims are bad and Sikhs look like Muslims, there must be something bad about that too.”
More on the shootings in Oak Creek from Oak Creek Patch: