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updated: 8/5/2013 2:15 PM

Palatine Sikh temple to hold vigil for Milwaukee shooting

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  • Members of the Palatine Gurdwara held a candlelight vigil last year for victims of the Sikh temple shooting near Milwaukee.

       Members of the Palatine Gurdwara held a candlelight vigil last year for victims of the Sikh temple shooting near Milwaukee.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

By Reema Amin

The Palatine Gurdwara will hold a candlelight vigil Monday evening to honor victims of the shooting massacre last year at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee.

The ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Gurdwara, or temple, at 1280 Winnetka St. in Palatine. It will be followed by speeches from community leaders and possibly local politicians, said Rajinder Singh Mago, a temple volunteer.

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The vigil is not just for the victims but also for first responders and the community -- everyone who came together in the wake of last year's shooting, Mago said.

A former soldier opened fire at a Sikh temple in the Wisconsin suburb of Oak Creek exactly a year ago, killing six people.

The killings got national attention and sparked more debate on gun control.

Among the victims was that temple's president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, who Mago said was well known by members of the Palatine temple.

Mago said he thinks the key to creating peace is to spread awareness of different cultures, which the Palatine Gurdwara tries to actively do.

He said students in World Religions classes and members of surrounding churches are invited to see the temple and observe rituals at the Gurdwara.

The temple has paired up with local and national Sikh organizations to educate more people about the Sikh religion and to lobby for stronger gun control laws, he added.

"The main lesson (from the shooting) is to create more awareness about our community to people outside and to promote the idea of oneness of humanity," Mago said. "We are all Americans."

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