Local Sikhs Hold Vigil

RENO, Nev. Driving past the Federal Building Friday evening, you may have seen the distinctive turbans and scarves. And the light of love. Sikhs from both Reno Temples held a candlelight vigil to remember those who lost their lives in Wisconsin last weekend.

As the sun set, prayers went out to the six victims killed while they worshiped in their temple.

A similer vigil was held two days earlier, but Friday's service was aimed at inviting the entire community to join in remembrance.

"We just want the support of the community," Gorpartap Singhmand said. "We are from India. We are Sikh. We need their love and respect."

Singhmand is president of the 2nd Street Sikh Temple.

Tonight's vigil was a chance for people of all religions to come and show their support.

"We should all help each other and support each other, that is the purpose of religion that we help the community," Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism said.

While the local Sikhs say they have seen an overwhelming show of support from the community, they still face prejudice every day.

Manpreet Kaur was born in India, but her family now lives in Las Vegas. She practices the faith with her family and says she's never felt different from anyone else, but sees the prejudice all around her.

"When we travel, my dad wears a turban and he always has to go through security more than me and my sister," Kaur said. "They check him so much. He's treated differently!"

Kaur is a graduate student studying accounting at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Being treated differently is something Sikhs are faced with on a daily basis. They say they are often confused for Muslims.

"That's just ignorance you know," Singhmand said. "It's not their fault that their ignorant, but if someone's Muslim, we should have respect and love for them too."

While those who gathered here today may have a different religion, there's one thing we all have in common.

"We're Americans," Gagandeep Singh said. "We're not Indian Americans, we're not Indians. We're Americans.

Singh is a local Sikh and is also trainging to become a policeman. He says he is incredibly thankful to his superiors who have been respectful of his faith and allowed to him to continue wearing the traditional turban.


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