Temple shooting: MN Sikhs want more understanding, McCollum fewer guns

The day after a gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, much of the response in Minnesota involved conversations about faith and firearms. Some in Minnesota's Sikh community hope the spotlight that's now trained on their faith will improve public understanding of Sikhs and make them less likely to be taken for Muslims. One Minnesotan in Congress hopes the tragedy leads the country toward tighter gun controls.
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Some of those in Minnesota's Sikh community see an opportunity arising from Sunday's temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. They hope an American public that understands little about their faith and often lumps them into a category with Muslims will begin to make more distinctions.

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) hopes the tragedy will cause Congress to limit the availability of guns. In her statement, McCollum offers no specific proposal but says "the madness of gun violence must stop." Advocates of gun control have turned up their volume since the shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, but President Obama did not immediately join the call.

More information is coming to light about the gunman. He was discharged from the Army in 1998 and the FBI is investigating his ties to white supremacist groups. The victims of the attack have also been identified. They include the 65-year-old president of the temple, who apparently engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the shooter.

Sikhism has about 23 million adherents and is about 500 years old. News from Wisconsin is now prominent on the Sikhnet website, which tracks current events.

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