Sikh Temple of Spokane prays for victims, families of Milwaukee shooting


by Shawn Chitnis &

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 10:39 PM

SPOKANE-- A gunman killed six people at a Sikh Temple in suburban Milwaukee on Sunday, and people in the Spokane community have been sharing their condolences with leaders of a local Sikh temple.

Officials with the Sikh Temple in Spokane Valley say their members are sadden by the loss of life in Wisconsin and are praying for all involved.

The Sikh Temple of Spokane has served as a place of prayer for a growing Sikh community since 2002.
 In the past 10 years the number of people following that faith has more than tripled to around 70 families.

Head Priest Gurjeet Singh Augla told us he believes there's little we can do to prevent these types of tragedies. "These kinds of people, only we can pray for them, we can't do anything."

Sikhism is roughly 500 years old with up to 30 million followers worldwide. It’s estimated as many as 300,000 live in the U.S.

Sikhs believe in one god but often have images of the ten masters of their religion inside.

The head priest tells us Sikhs are supposed to be both saints and soldiers, practicing prayer in times of peace and taking action when at war. "But if there is an injustice somewhere, then you are a soldier, fight against the injustice." He says their religion teaches not to seek revenge.

They do take precautions with a security system inside. Officials say they spend their time in the temple asking god to take care of both the victims and those responsible for Sunday’s shooting. 

To help keep a healthy relationship in the community, the head priest of the temple serves on the Spokane County Citizen Advisory Board.