Oak Creek's hearts open to Sikhs after Wisconsin temple shooting
Washington, Aug. 9 (ANI): In the aftermath of Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, which is believed to have been motivated by white supremacy beliefs, some residents of Oak Creek feel compelled to come nearer to their Sikh neighbours.
Tim Barger of Oak Creek did something he had never considered before while crossing paths with bearded men wearing turbans and women wrapped in saris, he said 'hello'.
"They're friendly. It opens your eyes," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Barger as saying, repeating a sentiment heard by many others.
According to the report, some people in the city feel that the tragedy will actually strengthen Oak Creek because it is forcing people to see the world beyond their community.
"This will help," Gayle Kitchen, who lives next to an apartment of Sikh neighbours, said.
"People before would stare at them because they're different. I hope now, they'll look at them with eyes of compassion because their hearts are broken," Kitchen added.
Sikhs have remained relatively isolated from the wider community, which is largely white and devoutly Christian in Oak Creek, the report added.
However, Sunday's incident will coax both groups to mix more tightly, Marc Gopin, director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Arlington said.
"One finds in such tragedies an amazing blend of shared rituals and expressions of care that cut across communal lines," Gopin said.
"Such gestures at the right time can say and do far more in terms of human relations than any words could ever accomplish. At the end of the day, grieving is about tears, sorrow, solidarity, comfort of survivors, and this is the universal language that cuts across all religions," she added.
Deb Ross, another resident, said it took the tragedy for her to realize how many Sikhs lived nearby.
A mass killing directed toward a particular religious group has the power to change how the [attacked] congregation views the outside world, David Weaver-Zercher, a professor of American Religious History at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, said. (ANI)
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