Sunday, August 12, 2012

Richmond Sikhs aim to raise a million for officer shot 9 times - - Richmond, VA News, Weather, Traffic & Sports

Richmond Sikhs aim to raise a million for officer shot 9 times - - Richmond, VA News, Weather, Traffic & Sports

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A week ago, a white supremacist gunman opened fire in a Sikh place of worship in Wisconsin.
Sunday, about a hundred Sikh followers in Oak Creek gathered for their first service since six people were killed.

An officer was among those injured while trying to stop the skinhead shooter.

The Sikh community of Richmond also shared in a special memorial service Sunday, inviting people of all faiths to learn about their religion.

The congregation also announced that it is launching of a nationwide effort to raise a million dollars through their community. They say that money will go to Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who's now recovering from nine bullet wounds. Several members of the Sikh congregation of Richmond have already donated $10,000 each to the fund.

Throughout the service, and traditional Sikh meal called the langgar, new faces discovered the deep devotion Sikhs hold for God, each other, and their neighbors.

Dr. Baljit Sidhu, executive committee member of the Chesterfield-based Sikh Gurdwara of Richmond, says his congregation hopes to dispel misconceptions, which he says have led to tragedy for his community, especially since the September 11th attacks.

"More than a thousand cases (of harassment or brutalized) have been registered against the Sikhs, and three people had been killed before Wisconsin because of mistaken identity…people who thought we were terrorists, that we were Arabs, the Taliban," said Dr. Baljit, an orthopedic surgeon.

However, Sikhism is its own religion, rooted in India, with more than 25 million followers worldwide.
Even though Sikhs are distinct in their faith, they say all men serve the same God through virtues like charity, honesty and self reliance. Sunday, unfamiliar guests observed Sikh traditions to support and learn more about their culture.

"I've known my (Sikh) friends for 30 years. I've learned some, but this is the first chance I've had to come into their gurdwara and learn a little bit more, and just support them and let them know that we care,'' said Mike Conway, who brought his family to the occasion.

"I haven't had a really good insight until today, to understand their faith and what they do socially together," said Matthew Scott, a member of the Mormon Church who attended the service with his daughter.

"The greatness of America is not because we have the big guns. Greatness lies because our morals are great. Our forefathers had great morals. We are getting away from that, and that hurts us," said Dr. Sidhu.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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