Iowa Sikh Members Respond To Temple Shooting

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By KCRG Intern

DES MOINES, Iowa - At the Sikh Temple of Iowa in West Des Moines, members are surprised and saddened by Sundays shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.

The shooting resulted in numerous deaths and left multiple victims in critical condition. The gunman was among those killed in the incident.

"This is really unfortunate," said temple member Jagtar Singh. "We really condemn it -- should not have happened."

Saranjit Kaur Banga said she made a last-minute decision that may have saved her life. She was visiting a cousin in Oak Creek and almost went to the temple.

"I just thought about going to the local Gurudwara down there," she said. "As I realized a storm was coming, I didn't want to get caught in the storm, so I decided to drive back."

Banga said it's hard to believe it all.

"It's really difficult to take in -- to see something like this still happening in America." she said.

Local temple leaders said the temple council will probably meet and schedule a special prayer service. In the wake of the shooting, and without too much information, they said the situation could have to do with misconceptions about Sikhism.

"It is open for all kinds of people here," Singh said. "In fact, we have never even said that only Sikh religion is good. We say, 'if you are a Christian, be a good Christian. If you are a Hindu, be a good Hindu.'"

Singh said Sikhs have especially struggled with racial profiling and misconceptions about their religion since 9-11.
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