By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — Members of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple invited the community to join them Saturday evening in prayer and a candlelight vigil in memory of six fellow Sikhs who were killed last week at their temple in Wisconsin.
At the beginning of the prayer service, temple leaders read out the names of all six who died.
Satwant Pandher, temple president, also praised police officer Brian Murphy who was injured in the shooting.
“He was more concerned about the safety of other people than his own,” he said. “His actions saved so many lives.”
A handmade sign near a stairway that led to the worship area also mentioned Murphy. “We pray for his good health and long life,” it said.
Pandher said he had received more than dozen phone calls this week, some from people he didn’t know, expressing sympathy and support.
Calls also came from the city’s police department, asking if the temple needed extra security, he said.
Pandher said he thanked the police department for its offer, and its consolation, but added, “We’ve been here for 12 years.”
Saturday’s gathering brought together temple members for the first time since the shootings. The gunman also died.
Ashley Dhillon of Marysville said she hopes for greater understanding of who Sikhs are.
“We have a turban,” she said. “Why do some people see us as outsiders? I would hope everybody sees us as part of America, not someone different.”
Several temple members said that non-Sikhs had sought them out this past week to express their sympathy.
Parminder Dhaliwal, of Marysville, works at the Community Health Center of Snohomish County. One clinic patient made a point of telling her: “I’m very, very sorry about your loss.”
Gagandeep Oberoi, of Mukilteo, said he hopes the public will come to understand that Sikhs are “a very peaceful, loving community.”
“I don’t know why there’s so many guns around,” he said. “It’s a matter of concern now.”
Saturday’s event at the Marysville temple was attended by about 120 people.
It was one of two Sikh temples in Snohomish County to hold events Saturday evening commemorating the loss of life at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
A candlelight vigil also was held at the Gurudwara Sikh Centre of Seattle, in Bothell, attended by about 400 people, said Harjinder Singh, temple director.
“We had a lot of community here, Christians, Muslims and other people here with us,” he said.