The killing of innocent Sikh devotees in Wisconsin, United States, has shattered the morale of the community worldwide.
Sikhs are in a state of shock over the incident, and have expressed dismay over it.
While they appealed for peace and calm, they asserted that there is an urgent need for the community to initiate a campaign relating to the Sikh identity issue so that they are not mistaken as Arabs in the Western world, as has been the case post- 9/11.
Sikhs representative bodies, organizations, religious leaders and personalities have strongly condemned the incident.
The American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) has called an emergency meeting in San Francisco to take stock of the situation.
AGPC Coordinator Dr. Pritpal Singh said they have appealed to the whole community to stay calm over the unsavory incident.
"The AGPC is in touch with the U.S. State Department and Congressmen, they have assured them about the safety and security of the community. We ask community members to hold prayers and do not resort to any protest, as the U.S. authorities are trying their best to provide security to the community and their shrines," said Dr. Pritpal Singh.
The Sikh Coalition's executive director of the coalition, Sapreet Kaur, said its thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the shooting and the Sikh community of Milwaukee, and the larger community of Wisconsin, which we know will stand with their Sikh neighbors.
The Bay Area Sikh Community stated in its release that the Sikhs are in a state of shock after learning about the Oak Creek Sikh Gurdwara killings.
"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We are very thankful to the Oak Creek Police, Fire and Emergency Response teams who acted quickly and bravely. Fremont Gurdwara (Sikh congregation) has organized special prayers for the victims of this horrible tragedy'', stated the release.
The United Sikhs condemned the incident, saying it had left the entire Sikh community in a disturbing state.
It labeled the incident as a well organized crime of terror, but asked Sikhs to remain calm.
The World Sikh Council - America Region (WSC-AR) expressed its shock and deep sadness about the senseless shooting.
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Chief Sham Singh condemned the incident strongly, but asked Sikhs worldwide to stay calm and united.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Avatr Singh Makkar appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the matter with U.S. President Barack Obama for the safety and security of the Sikhs and their religious places in the United States.
He said SGPC would submit a memorandum to the U.S. Embassy in India shortly to register their protest.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Chief Paramjit Singh Sarna also expressed his grief over the killing.
Raghbir Singh, a senior member from the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, France, also condemned the incident and appealed to Sikhs to unite on their identity issue.
Amritsar based Khalsa College Governing Council Honourary Secretary Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina asked the Indian Government to take up the matter with the U.S. Government.
He also said that there is strong need for Sikhs to initiate a worldwide campaign regarding the Sikh identity.
Sikh For Justice, a Sikhs rights group, announced a USD 10,000 award for the policeman who killed the attacker.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, an attorney attached to the rights' body, said the United States needed to have a reassessment of it claiming to be the savior of religious minorities across the world after this incident.
Surinderpal Singh Oberoi, the chairman of the Sarbat Da Bhalla, a Dubai-based NGO, appealed to the Sikh community to stay calm and hoped that American citizens would understand fully the security concern of the community and their shrines.
With over 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world.
There are over 500,000 followers in the United States. By Ravinder Singh Robin(ANI)