Weather Alerts 4 View »

Local Sikh community has safety concerns

Deandra Corinthios

Local Sikh community has safety concerns

CREATED Aug. 6, 2012

MENASHA, WI--It has been difficult for many at a Fox Valley Sikh temple as more information is released about the shooting. Many members in Menasha were close to the victims. They're still in shock and are trying to figure out the next steps to ensure their temple's safety.

The priest at the temple in Menasha was in Milwaukee Monday visiting with grieving families and giving support.

But unanswered questions haunt the minds of many at the Sikh temple in Menasha.

"Why did someone come in the church and open fire and kill my colleague...Kill very nice people?" said priest, Bhagwant Singh Balli.

Balli struggles to come to terms with losing his friends but he's also thinking about how to protect his congregation.

Balli says it's the Sikh's tradition to welcome anyone into their place of worship.

"Right now this is a question mark. If someone brings a gun they can open fire and then kill innocent people," said Balli.

Services at Sikh temple in Menasha can seat hundreds of people but board members expect attendence to drop.

"Maybe 20 to 25 percent of people won't come to temple in the next couple of months," said board member Kashmir Gill.

The Sikhs say they don't want to be confused with Muslims, and their faith has no enemies.

"Sikhism is a very very peaceful religion. We love each other. We love everybody," said Balli.

Since the shooting, letters and flowers from the community have arrived, support, the Sikhs hope will continue.

"Please help us, stay with us, and we can heal a little bit better," said Balli.