The loss of a loved one is always hard, but when it comes at the hand of someone evil it is particularly abhorrent. When an evil person enters a house of worship to unleash horror it is unconscionable.
My heart and spirit goes out to the family, friends and the worship community that have suffered this loss.
Over the past few days I have been struck by the voices from the collective worship community as they reflect on the act of violence, hatred and intolerance that took place at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek this past Sunday.
I have gathered some quotes from various media that I have been listening to and reading. Here are just a few that gave me pause.
From an article in the Washington Post by Ajaib Singh a contributor to The Washington Post’s local faith leader network.
“Our congregation, at the Sikh Foundation of Virginia, is both shocked and saddened that such a tragedy befell our sister community. Our hearts and prayers are with our fallen brethren and their families. Thankfully, I am sure that our Faith in Almighty will pull us through this and make our communities more united.”
From an interview from the Chicago Tribune with Rajinder Singh Mago, a spokesman for the Palatine temple.
“We must submit to the will of God and destiny,” Mago said. “That does not mean you are not going to make efforts to make the situation better and to have peace. But you must move forward. Forgive.”
Harsha Sharma, Interfaith Activist wrote a blog for the Huffington Post and collected several interfaith sentiments. Here is one from Hannah Shirey, Christian, New York, USA
“As we move forward, I am inspired by Sikh scripture that calls devotees to ‘recognize the human race as one’ and by Jesus of Nazareth’s famous words, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’ In our differences and our pain we are all interconnected and we all are capable of being peace-builders.”
In an interview by Megan Reust for wane.com, with Interpreter Kim Rai
“The doors are open to anybody. It’s a house of God and a house of worship. So, it’s open to every denomination.”
In an interview with Michel Martin on the Tell Me More segment from NPR News with Rajdeep Singh, director of law and policy for the Sikh Coalition.
SINGH: Yeah. I mean apart from offering our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, I just want to make two points. One is that this isn’t just an incident. This wasn’t just an attack on the Sikh community. There was an officer who was injured in the line of duty who was not a part of the Sikh community, who was attempting to protect them and who may have averted an even bigger tragedy. And so that needs to be noted and appreciated.
The other thing I’d like to leave you with is that although it is good to be vigilant, we shouldn’t allow fear to govern our lives. All of us have to move on and continue to hold our heads up high and be proud of who we are and be proud to be a part of this country and this community.