Surrounded by farms and just a few houses along nearby King George Drive in Nazareth, you may have never noticed the resting off a long driveway.
For the 400 families the temple serves, however, the seclusion has become a cause for alarm.
and many others wounded in a Sunday morning mass shooting at the in Oak Creek, a suburb of Milwaukee.
Police said three bodies were found outside the temple and four were inside the building. The gunman is among the dead in what police are calling a "well-coordinated attack."
"We need protection here, too," said Jaswinder Singh, a committee member at the local Sikh temple. "We’re not feeling safe ... [members are] calling and contacting the committee, asking if it's safe to come to the temple," he added.
Singh said committee members plan to contact officials later in the week to discuss how the temple could be protected.
‘We Must Have Respect for everybody’
This weekend, over 2,000 members of the Sikh community from the Philadelphia area and beyond were in Drexell Hill for the their 12th annual sports event.
“We made the announcement [Sunday] morning,” Dharam Sing Khalsa, a Philadelphia Sikh Society founding member, said. “Everybody was shocked. Everybody said it was bad news.”
According to Khalsa, the PSS, the Sikh religion and its international community seeks only peace.
“I want to tell the people, we are a peace-loving people,” Khalsa said. “We want to live together. We respect all religions, we must have respect for everybody.”
‘A case of Mistaken Idenity’
The Oak Creek police chief called the shooting an act of "domestic terrorism" and the FBI is heading up the investigation.
“This is my opinion: It is mistaken identity,” said PSS vice president, Harvinder Kauer Kocher.
According to Kocher, since 9-11, she has noticed reports of acts of violence, intimidation, and in some cases, murder on members of the Sikh community.
“Whoever is wearing a turban in America is 99-percent Sikh,” Kocher said. “Not Muslim.”
Many Sikhs have moved from New York City since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It's a religion that's often misunderstood and some members are afraid of being mistaken for Muslims.
"Whatever [the motive], we don’t want that to happen here," Singh said. In the Lehigh Valley "This shouldn’t have to happen to anyone ever again."
Concern for Family and Community
Relatives in India – watching the situation in Wisconsin unfold live – have been checking in to make sure the Lehigh Valley community hasn't been directly affected.
"They are calling their brothers, their cousins … they want to make sure it didn’t happen here," Singh said. "They are making sure we are all safe."
Kocher said since 9-11 the PSS has attempted to get the Sikh community more exposure to promote greater understanding.
“We are a very small community,” Kocher said. “We need the government’s help, and talk on T.V. about the suffering.”
She suggested that the United States government should have increased gun control laws, and that the media should produce more coverage on the Sikh community for more understanding.
“Why do we have to have a tragedy happen to get good from it?” Kocher said. “And, by good, I mean the media letting people see that we are Sikhs.”
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