MENASHA, WI (WTAQ) - Worship services were cut short Sunday at the Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley due to the tragic mass shooting in Oak Creek.
Members of the local Sikh community privately prayed and had concern for those who may have been involved in the Sunday massacre.
"Maybe my friend's there, maybe my uncle's there. I don't know what happened there but I'm begging right now please help us and stay with us,” asked Bhagwant Singh Balli, the priest at the the Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley, according to FOX 11.
Bhagwant Singh Balli says members of the congregation found out about the attack on the temple near Milwaukee shortly after it happened. He and other temple leaders broke the news to the faithful.
"We heard the news and we were very saddened. We shortened the service and encouraged all members to go home and be in a safe place and pray to god that everything works out,” Kamaljit Singh Paul, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Menasha temple told FOX 11.
The priest at the temple in Menasha says he's been here for about six years and they've never received any threats or had any acts of violence.
As a precaution, Menasha police were called to check on the temple Sunday morning. Everything was okay.
A Sikh organization in Milwaukee says after the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, four acts of violence were reported against Sikhs in the Milwaukee area. Local Sikhs want others to know their beliefs, and their message of non-violence.
"I want to explain to everyone that we are not Muslim. We are Sikh community,” explained Balli, pointing out a common misconception. “We try to live peacefully and we give them message to live peace. This is our main congregation meaning."
The leaders of this temple say the word "Sikh" means student—One who is always learning. Now they wait anxiously to learn the full impact of this tragic situation on their community statewide.
There's a hotline number for family and friends of potential victims to call for more information. That's 1-888-298-1964.
Local Sikh leaders say they'll be meeting tomorrow morning to discuss safety issues for their temple. They're not sure when services will resume as usual.