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Framingham Family's Uncle Killed in Sikh Temple Shooting in Wisconsin

MetroWest area Sikhs will hold a prayer service and candlelight vigil Monday at Milford Gurduara Sahib to remember the victims of a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

A Framingham man lost a family member in Sunday's Sikh shooting in Wisconsin.

Gursher Gill of Framingham, told Boston.com, that the president of the temple where six people were shot and killed, Satwant Singh Kaleka was his wife's uncle.

Relatives and members of the Temple said Kaleka, 65, was fatally shot as he tried to fight off the attacker with a knife. After hearing gunshots from the front room of the temple, he rushed to intervene, family members said.

“From what we understand, he basically fought to the very end and suffered gunshot wounds while trying to take down the gunman,” said Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, his nephew, told CNN.

Kaleka came to Wisconsin from his native India in the early 1980s.

MetroWest area Sikhs will hold a prayer service and candlelight vigil Monday at Milford Gurduara Sahib to remember the victims of a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

The service, which begins at 7 p.m., is open to the public. At least 200 people are expected to attend, said Sarbpreet Singh,

The service inside the church will be followed by a candlelight vigil outside, and then a community meal. Other faiths, including Hindu and Islam, will be represented as well. "There has been a tremendous reaching out of other faiths," Singh said.

According to news reports, a gunman entered the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, near Milwaukee, on Sunday morning, and opened fire. Three other people were injured, including a police officer who was tending to a victim when he was shot, according to the New York Times.

Singh, who is a spokesman for Milford Gurduara Sahib, the regional Sikh temple, said he did not want to presume a motive for the violence. But, in previous incidents, and particularly since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Sikhs have been targeted in crimes because they have been confused with Muslims.

In both faiths, men wear turbans and beards. The religions have no connection. Singh said he had read reports that indicated the gunman in the temple targeted men wearing turbans.

The Sikh faith is 500 years old and is the fifth-largest in the world, with 26 million followers. It originated in the Punjab region, which is now divided between India and Pakistan. Most Sikhs live in India, but the faith has members across the United States.

The Milford temple, or church, is the oldest in New England. It is located at 204 E. Main St., and was formerly a synagogue. It was chosen in the late 1980s as the location for the temple because it was convenient geographically to Sikhs who live in the suburbs of Boston.

Ryan Seavey August 07, 2012 at 12:51 AM
How do you pronounce that?
Susan Petroni (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 01:31 AM
You'll hear Sikh pronounced both as "seek" and "sick." Those of the religious, the 5th largest religion in the world, prefer the "sick" pronunciation.

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