Wisconsinites stand with Sikh neighbors

Since the terrible acts of violence committed last Sunday at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, our entire state has been focusing on supporting the victims, their families, and the survivors of this tragedy and on helping the entire community and state to heal. Our prayers remain with them, as we all struggle to comprehend the kind of evil that causes someone to take the life of another.

While we are still trying to determine exactly what motivated the killer, it’s important to note discrimination and violence targeted toward a specific ethnic or religious group runs contrary to America’s core ideals. By placing it in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, our founding fathers placed special emphasis on protecting religious freedom for all Americans. We must show constant vigilance in defending our founding principles.

The Sikh Temple, as with any house of worship, is a refuge and a safe haven for people of faith.

In an effort to root out ignorance and senseless violence, I’d like to help educate the public about our neighbors in the Sikh community.

According to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sikhism is the fifth- largest faith in the world. There are roughly 700,000 Sikhs in the United States. Sikhs believe in equality, freedom of religion, and community service.

Throughout the last week, my wife, Tonette, and I attended several vigils and visited with some members of the Sikh community. We have been struck by their strength and grace in the face of tremendous pain.

As we move forward as a state and nation, Wisconsin and America stands together with members of the Sikh community as we pray for the survivors and remember the dead.

Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin.

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