WEB EXTRA: Understanding the Sikh Religion
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith founded more than 500 years ago in South Asia. It has roughly 27
million followers worldwide. Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often cover their heads with turbans - which are considered sacred - and refrain from shaving their beards. There are roughly 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S., according to estimates. The majority worldwide live in India.
The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin started in 1997 with about 25 families who gathered in community halls in Milwaukee. Construction on the current temple in Oak Creek began in 2006, according to the temple's website.
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in bias attacks since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the U.S. since 9/11, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Sikhs are not Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims, advocates say.
Harpit Singh Bedi discusses the religion and recent shooting in Wisconsin.
- First Responder at Sikh Temple Shooting to Retire
- Oak Creek Sikhs Among Guests at White House Event
- Man with Ammo Detained at Sikh Temple
- FBI Asked to Keep Data on Anti-Sikh Hate Crimes
- Officer Shot in Temple Rampage Attends Fundraiser
- Wis. Police to Release Video from Sikh Shooting
- First Lady Meets Sikh Shooting Victims' Families
- Sikh Temple Holds 1st Sunday Service Since Attack
- Obama: Attack at Sikh Temple Assails Religion
- Hundreds Gather for Sikh Temple Shooting Memorial