Sikhs in Las Vegas claim that they, too, have experienced hatred from people of other races and faiths. It is the fifth largest faith in the world, yet it is still confused with others - and that makes them a target.
"We are a part of this society," said Amar Chadha, a temple board member at Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh in northwest Las Vegas.
For Chadha, it is his second home. The temple is where people of the faith come to reflect and worship.
The shooting in Wisconsin has left people there wanting more security, but more than anything, they want people to know who they really are.
"Some people call us Hindus. Some call us Muslims, but we are neither of them," said Amarjit Pannu, a Sikh who lives in Las Vegas.
About 700,000 Sikhs live in the United States. Most of them are of Indian descent, and Pannu is one of them. She said many people confuse Sikhs for Muslims because of the turbans they wear on their head.
"We feel sorry for the people because they're ignorant. They don't want to take the trouble to find us - a little bit more about us," Pannu said.
Pannu and Chadha welcome everyone to explore their faith, and they respect every religion in the world.
What they don't understand is the violence.
"We came to this country. We work very hard. We establish ourselves and we do whatever it takes to be a part of this community," Chadha said.
The problem, though, isn't going away, at least according to one local expert who studies hate groups.
"There's no doubt something like this will happen again. It's very hard to predict when and where," said Dr. Robert Futrell, a sociology professor at UNLV.
Futrell pointed out that hate groups live in a culture that glorifies violence. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, there are 12 in the state of Nevada and plenty more in nearby states.
"The extent to which the violence occurs - that can be mitigated in many instances, but to think we're going to eradicate it is not possible in the short term, at least," he said.
Chadha estimates that nine out of 10 people who live in the Las Vegas Valley do not know who the Sikhs are or what they practice. All they want is peace, they said. And that was taken away Sunday.
On Wednesday, the Sikh temple in northwest Las Vegas will have a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Wisconsin shooting.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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