WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Educating, reflecting and coming together. Those were the goals of a vigil hosted by Charleston's Sikh community following an attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin August 5.
"It was great actually," said Jaspeet Singh, who helped coordinate the event. "When we started this we weren't sure of what kind of response we would get."
However, Singh said the response, not only from the community but also from those representing other religions, was overwhelming.
There wasn't an empty chair at the Hindu Temple in West Ashley. Religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu faiths spoke about a stronger religious community and the need to wipe out evil and ignorance in our world.
One of the many religious leaders to speak was Dr. Ishaq Zahid, who represented Charleston Muslims.
"I stand before you as an expression of solidarity at a time of profound sadness and deep outrage," said Dr. Zahid. "I have never felt more affinity with the Sikh community because I no longer feel just the bond of geography and humanity... but also I now share the common bonds of fear and anxiety of a community who, perhaps, was the real target of the crazed mass murderer. I also share with you the gratitude that so many fellow Americans have stood up with you and with us."
Others who spoke after Dr. Zahid made similar comments of unity and brotherhood in time of despair and fear.
Singh said the interfaith experiment is one of the only bright spots to come out of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting that took place in early August.
"It was complete sorrow," said Singh. "It was really heartbreaking. This was the biggest tragedy since 9/11 we suffered."
Pictures of the six people killed in the shooting sat on a table at the front of the room. Leaders from different religions were tasked with lighting a candle in front of each pictures to display unity.
"Lighting the candles was to remember those who we lost in the tragedy trying to pay them respect and remembering them," said Singh.