HUNDREDS of Sikhs will say special prayers in Southampton this weekend for fellow worshippers who were shot dead in the US.
Leading members of the city’s Sikh community have described their shock after a lone gunman opened fire at a gurdwara, the name given to Sikh temples, in Wisconsin on Sunday.
The horrific shooting, which left seven people dead, has caused shock and fear among the Sikh community living in America.
Those sentiments have now been echoed much closer to home, with worshippers in Southampton left reeling from the disaster.
Harjap Singh, chairman of the Southampton Gurdwara Council, which runs the city’s four Sikh temples, said that prayers would be read by hundreds of worshippers across the city on Sunday.
He added: “We just can’t imagine what went through the gunman’s head. It’s completely mindless. It’s shocked us all.
“We hope that something like this doesn’t happen in England, or anywhere for that matter, but you can never be too careful.
“Something like this could happen at any time, anywhere – all it takes is for someone to lose their head like this.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”
Saranjit Karir, from the Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Cranbury Avenue, added: “It wasn’t good news when we heard and the whole community is in shock. It has hit us quite badly.
“I don’t know why someone would want to do something like this in a peaceful place of worship.
“Just because we wear turbans doesn’t mean we are terrorists, but that’s the sort of mentality some people have and we have almost expected something like this to happen ever since 9/11.
“The only consolation is that there weren’t too many people killed, but still, a life is a life.”
Mass prayers will be read at all four Southampton gurdwaras on Sunday morning.
More than 700 people are set to attend to pay their respects.