It’s been seven years since a fire in the Oswego county town of Palermo and people are still feeling the effects. A Sikh Temple was burned down just months after nine-eleven. Teenagers set fire to it, thinking it was a muslin temple. The community banded together and re-built the temple.
The mood here today is a far cry from the sadness worshippers felt when their temple was burned down just months after 9-11. Arsonists wrongly thought the temple was connected with the terrorist attacks.
“There are many different cultures and many different religions that wear turbans. And I think just the image kind of like confused people,” said Sikh follower Amarpol Kanwal.
While there may be similarities in their dress, they are in no way connected to 9-11 or Muslim extremists.
“We immediately went public with the message of forgiveness. We wanted to dispel the feeling of darkness and relativity,” said president of temple Ralph Singh.
The scripture is some 150 to 200 years old. It’s hand-written the scripture that was saved in the fire of the old temple that's here in the new temple. It has not been unveiled. That will happen later on tonight. It stands for a message of peace.
“This is a sacred place out in what people may think is nowhere and yet that light does draw people,” said president of temple Ralph Singh.
That message has been passed down from generation to generation making its way from India to Palermo.
From the ashes of their original temple the Sikh can now continue moving forward hoping that religious tolerance follows. Because their sacred texts were spared by the fire they took on more meaning. The Sikh followers say that it was a sign. To forgive the arsonists and re-build. [Link]
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