Taylorsville • More than 100 people of different faiths gathered Wednesday night at the Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple of Utah for prayers and a candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who lost their lives Sunday during a rampage at a Sikh Temple in suburban Milwaukee.
The message was one of peace, love and acceptance of all religious beliefs. But it was also a show of solidarity. Hate, organizers said, will not divide. In great tragedy, hope emerges, and the right for religious freedom continues to prevail across the country.
Wednesday's vigil in Taylorsville was part of a larger gathering nationwide to remember the victims and their families.
Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran, entered the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday armed with 9 mm pistol and opened fire on worshippers shortly before services. He killed six people and severely wounded a police officer before taking his own life, investigators have said. Page has been described as a "frustrated neo-Nazi."
J.B. Singh, a temple board member and state secretary for the Utah Temple, told attendees that the loss of the Sikh members in Wisconsin has been upsetting and heart-wrenching for everyone. He thanked everyone for the support, prayers and gestures of love.
"[This] violence has not shattered the community, but in fact made us stronger," he said.
Singh said there are more than 1,000 members of the Sikh faith in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah who are served by the Taylorsville temple.
Alan Bachman, chair of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, said he hopes the Sikh faith will flourish in Utah.
"While we have to be very sad about the persecution that did occur, we are alive and we have a lot to be thankful for," he said.
Outside the temple, attendees gathered holding lighted candles while observing a moment of silence to mourn those who were killed. After the vigil, worshippers lined the front of the temple with the candles, creating a makeshift memorial.
Zoya Maslak, of Salt Lake City, said Wednesday marked the first time she had gone to a Sikh Temple. She went to show "solidarity for what happened."
Much of the service was translated into English and as she followed along, Maslak said she was struck by how peaceful the Sikh religion is.
"The ignorance, that's what gets people into trouble," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.