Sikh community asks Phoenix Police to patrol near temples

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on August 5, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 5 at 5:20 PM

PHOENIX -- Members of Gurdwara Sahib-Guru Nanak Dwara temple in Phoenix are breaking bread with each other Sunday, but their thoughts are with temple members in Wisconsin.

“It's a time of sadness of course.  We're also getting together to send support in Wisconsin.  Times like this there's often a time, a feeling of being alone and we want to let them know they are not alone and we fully support them,” said Sikh minister, Gurukirn Kaur Khalsa.

A gunman killed several members of their extended family in Wisconsin, on Sunday.
 
Several others were injured in the Sikh temple near Milwaukee.

“Whenever an incident of this type happens anywhere in the country, the Sikh all over the country get affected because there's always a fear that somebody else is going to do something wrong mostly because they misinterpret who we are and what we do and so forth,” said temple member Madan Singh.

Singh said people sometimes confuse Sikhs with Muslims because of their turbans.

Shortly after September 11, Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot and killed in Mesa, in 2001.  

Police said the shooter mistook Sodhi to be Muslim.

On Sunday, Sodhi's brother, Rana Singh Sodhi called the Phoenix Police Department asking for officers to patrol the neighborhood around the temple.

A department spokesperson sent out this statement:

“The Phoenix Police department is aware of the senseless shootings that occurred at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek (Milwaukee) Wisconsin this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the Sikh community.
 
Phoenix Police Community Response and our Homeland Defense Bureau are in contact with Sikh leaders here in the valley and we have increased patrol presence around the three temples in our city until further notice. 
 
For your information, there are three Sikh Temples in Maricopa County.”

The Sikh community has also released a statement regarding Sunday's shooting. Click here to read their reaction to the tragedy.
 
 

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