GREEN BAY - An estimated 2,000-3,000 people follow the Sikh faith in Wisconsin.
"This is a very welcoming temple," explained head priest of the Sikh Temple of Fox Valley, Singh Balli. "This does not belong to Sikh, it belongs to everybody."
Singh Balli is the head priest at the Sikh temple in Menasha. He says the Sikh religion is one of peace.
Balli says because of their beliefs, traditional Sikh men don't cut their beards or their hair and most cover their heads with turbans.
Balli says that's a proud and distinguished part of the religion, but it's often associated with negativity.
Especially, he says, since 9/11.
"A lot of people comment me, when I open my beard up to go to the market, they say, here's Bin Laden," Balli said.
"Its tenets are a belief in one God, a real commitment to equality, equality for all people," explained UWGB professor of human development and anthropology Jill White.
White says the Sikh religion is its own religion, and is confused with others, such as Islam or Hinduism.
According to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Sikh religion was founded in South Asia more than 500 years ago.
The organization says there are currently four temples within the state, with 2,000-3,000 followers statewide.
Officials estimate there are 700,000 across the U.S. and more than 25 million followers worldwide.
The vast majority live in India.
And while we still don't know the exact motive behind Sunday's senseless tragedy, White and Balli feel it's still something we can all learn from.
"I think events like this make it apparent to all of us how urgent it is for us to find out more about one another, just to find out more about what our neighbors do believe, and how similar we actually are," White explained.
"Do good work; help each other, live nice," Balli said.
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