Vigil for Wisconsin Sikh shooting victims held in Toronto
Published Saturday, August 11, 2012 12:41PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 12, 2012 10:37PM EDT
Mourners circled Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday evening to remember the victims of a tragic shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wisc.
The vigil, which was organized by the Ontario Sikhs & Gurdwara Council and the Ontario Gurdwaras Committee, was called Canada Weeps.
One organizer said the whole world is weeping following the shooting that claimed the lives of six people.
“We are all shocked…and hopefully the community and the world can overcome this tragic event,” Sewak Singh told CP24.
He said despite the shooting, Sikh temples in Canada and around the world will continue to welcome people of all backgrounds.
“We will never stop anybody from coming into our churches…(our temples) are open 24/7.”
Two teens who participated in the vigil said hate crimes of any kind should not be acceptable.
“People shouldn’t be treated different just because they look different or they act different or they believe in different things,” said one teen, who was holding a sign honouring the police officer who was injured in the attack.
She added: “Religion shouldn’t be a matter of life and death.”
Earlier in the day, Singh told CTV Toronto that during the vigil participants would reflect on the gunman, who police identified as former member of the U.S. army, Wade Michael Page.
“Somewhere we will also think of Mr. Wade himself who was somehow brought up in such a way where he didn’t respect human values,” said Singh.
On Aug. 5, Page entered the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in the town of Oak Creek and killed six people before killing himself. Page also seriously injured three people, including a police officer.
Police allege that Page had links to white supremacist groups.
On Friday Canadian Sikhs from across the country travelled to Oak Creek to attend a funeral service for the victims.
Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh was among the Canadian contingent who attended the service.
Dozens of mourners from different backgrounds gathered at Winnipeg’s legislative building on Friday evening to pray for the victims of the shooting and their families.