News / Utah / 

Utah Sikh temples to beef security following Wis. shooting

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Aug 6th, 2012 @ 8:00pm

6 photos

SALT LAKE CITY — A shooting in a place of worship in Wisconsin is sparking action in Utah.

Leadership at the Sikh Temple in Taylorsville will ask for extra security from Unified Police during services. This comes in response to the man accused of killing six people and critically injuring three others inside a Sikh temple.

Authorities confirmed the gunman, Michael Page, is a member of a Neo-Nazi group. The group is known for being extremely violent. One victim of the shooting was a police officer, who heroically focused on his job.

"He had been shot nine times, one of them very serious — in the neck area," said police chief John Edwards. "He waved them off to go help those inside the temple instead."

President Obama said he is heartbroken by the shooting.

On late Monday afternoon, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman met with members of Utah's Sikh community to offer his condolences. The Huntsmans were in town for several board meetings, and stopped by to visit, as they called them, "old friends."

While inside the temple, both men and women covered their heads. The priest read from the holy text in a brief service, during which Huntsman offered condolences from his family — mentioning his youngest daughter Asha, who is from India. The Sikhs gave the Huntsmans shawls as a gift of friendship.

The Tenets of Sikhism
  • Worship one God
    • There is one creator.
  • Treat everyone equally
    • Class, gender, race should not be a distinction
  • Meditate and pray, make an honest income, share earnings and serve others
  • Avoid pride, lust, greed, anger, and attachment
  • Be baptized
  • Live according to ethical and spiritual commitments
  • Wear five articles of faith:
    • Undergarment
    • Wooden comb in turban
    • Steel wristlet
    • Keep hair uncut
    • Small symbolic sword
  • Follow four commandments
    • Do not cut hair
    • Do not harm the body with substances
    • Do not eat sacrificial meat
    • Do not commit adultery
  • Recite the five daily prayers
  • Take part in fellowship

More information about Sikhism

Priest Gurmeet Singh was a personal friend of those who died at the Wisconsin Temple.

"They have learned the hymns and the prayer ceremonies together with me, and then they have been constantly visiting India along with me," Singh said.

The leader of Utah's Sikh community was shocked by Sunday's attack at the temple in Wisconsin. He studied with several members of the Wisconsin temple.

Although Sikhs pray daily, worship services take place on Sunday mornings at the temple. The community offers prayers, sings hymns, and reads from their holy text. Their founder, along with those who came after, are called Gurus. There are nearly 1,000 Sikhs living in Utah.

Sikhism is the fifth largest organized religion in the world with more than 30 million members, the majority of which reside in the Punjab region of India.

The religion was founded in the 15th century as a monotheistic faith and rejects discrimination on the basis of race, religion or gender.

Baptized Sikhs do not cut their hair, and the men wear turbans. They do not consume alcohol, tobacco or drugs. They believe strongly in marriage and family life.

American Sikhs have suffered persecution following 9/11, with some 700 incidents. Many mistake them for Muslims.

The leaders at the Utah Sikh Temple are asking members of their religious community and the wider Utah community for donations to help those injured and hospitalized in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Donations* can be made to the Sikh temple at 4897 S. Redwood Road in Salt Lake City.

* has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


Related Stories

Carole Mikita

KSL Weather Forecast