The advocacy group United Sikhs has strongly condemned the shooting of innocent people attending a morning prayer service at a Gurdwara (place of worship) in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek, USA.
A spokesperson said: "This is very disturbing news for the entire Sikh American Community and the Sikh diaspora worldwide. The incident has been labeled as a well organised crime of terror. Reports suggest that the initial perpetrator was a heavy build, bald, white male who had two handguns and started shooting at the devotees indiscriminately in the Gurdwara parking lot as they were heading for the morning service."
The gunman also shot a police officer attending to the crime scene, multiple times. Initial reports also suggested children and the head priest being held as hostage inside the temple premises. Multiple people were shot, including the gunman.
Sikhs in the United States, whose religion is confused with Islam by many people hostile to Muslims but ignorant of both religions, are fearful of further attacks.
"We request community members to stay alert and inform law enforcement agencies and United Sikhs about any suspicious activity. We are in constant touch with the White House, the DOJ, FBI and local law enforcement," a press release from the group said.
Among the Sikhs confirmed dead are a priest, one Kathavachak (spiritual discourse giver), two sewadars (helpers) at the Gurdwara, one woman, one old gentleman, and the identity of others is unknown. The single gunman is also confirmed dead.
“This act of terror has left the community in shock and we are counting on law enforcement agencies to make a statement soon to reassure the community,” said Manwinder Singh, United Sikhs community advocacy director.