Oak Creek shooting
Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?
BROOKFIELD- This tragedy has many asking what the Sikh religion is all about. In the Punjabi language, Sikh means disciple, disciples who follow the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus.
The Gurus preach a message of devotion and of God and equality of humankind.
Amarjot Singh tells TODAY'S TMJ4 "Maybe if the person didn't know who we are or what we represent, I'm most certain he didn't know, and if he had known a little bit about us, he would not have, anybody would not go through this action."
An action that has the Sikh community in this tragic spotlight. But in the midst of grief, Sikhs want the world to understand more about their religion, the fifth largest in the world.
After September 11, 2011 Sikhs were the target of attacks and stereotypes, "One of the first casualties after 9-11, was a gas station owner in Arizona... he was Sikh," says U.S. Attorney James Santelle of Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Singh says some actions are caused by fear, "The fear is from unknown, if you don't know... what is under in my turban? Nobody knows right?"
But the Sikh philosophy is a peaceful one that more than 23 million people follow across the globe. Most reside in India, but more than 700,000 live in the United States.
The turban is worn as a symbol to others to show Sikhs are dedicated to serving all without prejudice.
"We believe in ONE God, we are children of ONE God, Sikh religion's a peace, peaceful religion and we basically pray for everybody," Sikh Religious Society of Wisconsin President Gurcharan Singh Grewal explains.
And as they pray for everyone equally, they also believe in racial and gender equality. "It's about the Sarbat da bhala, means that peace to all, love to all, prosperity to all," says Amarjot Singh.
"We pray to God that please do good to the WHOLE world, not just the Sikh community. So I hope people will take the message from there and understand our religion and understand the Sikh community," hopes Gurcharan Singh Grewal.