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Local Sikhs react to shooting

ROSWELL, Ga -- Local Sikhs reacted to the mass shooting at a temple in Wisconsin Sunday. While prayers across the country on the day of worship turned to the victims of the shooting, the Sikh community in Roswell held a special prayer service.

Worshippers at Sikh Educational Welfare Association (SEWA) Gurudwara Sahib on Woodstock Road in Roswell read a prayer from the Book that promotes goodness to everyone. "Our deepest sympathies and our heartfelt condolences go out to all those who lost lives in this tragic incident," said Parvinder Singh, a spokesperson for SEWA.

There are just over a thousand Sikhs in the Atlanta area. Parvinder said they are reluctant to jump to the conclusion that their religion was targeted in the attack. "This country has been a melting pot for all religions and cultures of the entire world," he said. "We really hope this is not an act of hatred toward us, it's a crime against humanity."

The Sikh religion originated in northern India around 1500 and has about 25 million followers, 700,000 of them in the United States, according to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair and male followers often cover their heads with turbans and refrain from shaving their beards. They are neither Muslim nor Hindu.

SEWA Gurudwara in Roswell has been a place of worship for ten years. Singh

said they have always felt safe and even after the Wisconsin shooting, they still do. "All we can do is stay united and preach the message of love and kindness," he said.

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