Just getting the headwear right was a challenge for some, but members of the Sikh Temple of Sacramento were eager to help confused visitors Wednesday night, tying on scarves and showing them where to stow their shoes before entering the prayer hall.
Religious leaders, elected officials and community members from around the Sacramento region embraced the area's Sikh community at an interfaith service Wednesday as members of that faith struggle to deal with .
"Why are we the target? We don't understand," said Darshan Mundy, a public relations officer for the West Sacramento temple. "The whole community is confused."
Representatives from Christian, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim and Jewish faiths spoke to the crowd, offering condolences and pledging support for the Sikh community.
"It is a religion that promotes peace and promotes love," said Jon Fish, president of the Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento. "Whenever something tragic happens we have to focus a little clearer on peace and on love."
Rabbi Nancy Wechsler-Azen of Carmichael's also added her support for the Wisconsin victims.
"Every soul is a holy soul," she said.
Elk Grove City Council Member Sophia Scherman said the Oak Creek tragedy "opened up wounds we thought were beginning to heal" .
"Just to look at the Sikh community and the sorrow and pain in their faces is just like it was in Elk Grove," Scherman said. "The look on the faces of the young [at Wednesday's service]–I'll never forget the look on their faces."
Ken Cooley, a Rancho Cordova City Council Member , wore a long orange scarf given to him by Sikh community members during that city's first city council meeting in 2003.
"We just see them as a valued part of our community," Cooley said.
He said he couldn't find words to describe the horror that took place in Wisconsin.
"It is an affront to what a place of worship represents," he said. "It's not just violence, it's sacrilege–and that would be true in any faith."
The Sikh temple will hold a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the west steps of the state capitol.