Southland Muslim groups reach out to area Sikhs in wake of shooting

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Sikhs throughout the United States are in a state of fear and mourning after Sunday's shooting in a Wisconsin temple left seven people dead. In Los Angeles, Muslim groups who have also faced discrimination since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 are reaching out.

The attack at a gurdwara (Sikh temple) in a suburb of Milwaukee is currently being investigated as a hate crime.

There are only about 750,000 Sikhs in the US, and no numbers on how many reside in Southern California. But the experience of many Sikhs in America is one that resonates with Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, religious director of the Islamic Society of Orange County.

He says that Sikhs and Muslims have grown closer and engaged in interfaith work since the 2001 attacks — interactions which made both religious groups prime targets of violence.

"This is something that we all should be concerned about," says Siddiqi. "Our religious organizations, our civic organizations, our law enforcement organizations, should [all] form some kind of coalition. [We should be] working together, understanding each other to develop a society of harmony, peace and understanding.”

Siddiqi says he has been to the gurdwara in Santa Ana and will return throughout the week to reach out to the Sikh community there.

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