Worshippers return to Wisconsin gurdwara

August 13th, 2012 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 13 (IANS) A week after a gunman killed six people in a Wisconsin gurdwara, mourners streamed into its prayer hall, bowing before the Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, for the temple’s first official service.

Outside, members raised the American flag from half-staff and hoisted a new Sikh flag in an elaborate ritual Sunday surrounded by hundreds of people who had come from around the world in a show of solidarity, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Sunday’s service came near the close of a weeklong outpouring of sorrow and support for the Sikh community and an emotional funeral service Friday for all six victims that filled the Oak Creek High School gymnasium to overflowing.

On Sunday, worshippers in the prayer hall sat for hours as the priests and readers chanted and sang the scriptures and hymns in Gurmukhi and Punjabi, the sound of the tabla echoing through the hall.

Words flashed across a screen in English. “My playful friends have gone to sleep in the graveyard,” one frame read.

Victims’ family members and speakers from around the country closed the service, pledging their support and vowing to fight bigotry and educate others about the faith.

Preparations for Sunday’s service began early Thursday as workers and volunteers toiled nearly around the clock to erase the horror that Page had wrought, washing away the blood, ripping out carpets, scrubbing every surface and painting every wall, the Journal Sentinel said.

Women crowded the kitchen, chopping vegetables, rolling and patting a mountain of dough into chapattis, stirring huge pots of curry for the langar.

Sikhs, many of them young men and women, travelled from temples, or gurdwaras, from as far away as Canada to volunteer for the day.

Meanwhile, in a show of solidarity with the Sikhs, a message of peace, solidarity and forgiveness was shared throughout the weekend at inter-faith services in synagogues, churches, mosques and temples, the Journal Sentinel said.

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