Sikh community remembers gurdwara massacre 5 years later

Five years ago, on August 5th, 2012 a gunman stormed into the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and started shooting, murdering six, wounding four. (Aug. 5, 2017)

Five years ago, on August 5th, 2012 a gunman stormed into the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and started shooting, murdering six, wounding four.

The gunman was 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist. He killed himself after being shot by a police officer. Page thought the gurdwara for a Muslim mosque.

In the years since members of the Sikh faith have tried to come to grips with what happened and get back to a state of peace. When the tragedy happened it rocked the U.S., President Obama issued an executive order for flags to be flown at half-staff. Local gurdwaras around Sacramento are honoring those that were killed this weekend.

"This is a day which we remember with some reverence and respect the souls that were lost on this day," Dr. Gurtej Cheema said.

Dr. Cheema is on the board of Sacramento's Capital Sikh Center and a professor and doctor at UC Davis. He said the day his fellow Sikh devotees were gunned down changed everything for the community.

"The reason things changed dramatically then was that someone would go to such an extent that he would come to a place of worship, especially a place that is for the betterment of the entire creation, and peace and love that he would choose to go in and kill unarmed people without any provocation," Dr. Cheema said.

He told ABC 10 that this incident made things scarier for Sikhs when there was already tension after 9/11.

"Life has become some much different that I have to worry about my own safety what time do I get back home," he said.

But as each martyr is remembered, Dr. Cheema said he has hope that with education America will change.

"Whether I am a Sikh or a Muslim or whatever religious background that does not matter we are all contributing to society in our own way," Dr. Cheema said.

The Capital Sikh Center will have a prayer ceremony honoring those who were killed with food Sunday.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment