LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
Before you can enter the Sikh Temple in Lake Charles, your shoes must come off and a proper head dressing must be put on. But as the Sikhs will tell you, those are pretty much the only rules to follow to be accepted into this religion.
"We respect everybody" said Lake Charles Sikh worshipper Jas Singh. "We welcome Christian, we welcome Muslims, Secs, Hindus and Buddhist. Everybody".
The religion, who accepts everyone, says that acceptance is one of the core pillars of the Sikh religion.
"It's all equality in our religion" said worshipper, Navdeep Kaur. "We all believe in the same thing. Poor or rich, everyone inside at the end of the day is equal".
In a time where people fear the unknown, Sikh worshippers have become the victims of inequality.
"Since 9/11, in other states Sikhs have been killed as mistaken identity as Muslims" said Singh. "It happened in Arizona, in other states and we think that's what happened in Wisconsin".
There are common misconceptions Sikh worshippers say have permeated some minds and may have contributed to last week's shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
"They probably look on the TV and see what happened in Afghanistan or different countries, the people who wear Turbans, that's who we are but we're not a part of that, we're a totally different people" Singh said.
A people who, instead of condemning gunman Wade Michael Page, pray for him and pray that that was the last time a shooting like that happens.
"We're not mad... it's the masses from God". It's bad, it happened this way especially in a nation like this. It definitely hurts but we're not mad. It's a bad apple, it can happen anywhere".
While Sikhs in other parts of the country have struggled, this Sikh community says the people of Lake Charles have been nothing but welcoming and supportive.
"The people here locally are wonderful, they're peaceful, we have never had a problem here locally" said Singh.
They're asking for the community's support now, at a time they need it the most.
"Tomorrow we're holding a candle vigil for the victims of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple. Anybody welcome who stands with the peace. We welcome anybody".
The vigil will begin at 7 p.m. at the Lake Charles Sikh Temple located at 1803 Merganser Rd. in Lake Charles.