Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Interfaith Conference Sikh Shooting Update

From: Tom Heinen  
 Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 5:15 PM

Dear Interfaith Conference Friends:


    We have been very busy since the tragic shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. Here is a brief update.


n       With the endorsement of Sikh leaders, we are collecting donations for the victims and their families, including the wounded Oak Creek police officer. We will give the money to authorized Sikh temple leaders, who will distribute it responsibly. You can donate online with us at or at the Sikh community website,

n       We have begun inviting people to share condolences, prayers, thoughts and comments on our website at for people to read there and for us to collect and share with the Sikh community.

n       We have been in communication with Sikh leaders regarding the holding of an interfaith prayer service that would be meaningful to the Sikh community. Our goal is to include them deeply in the planning and presentation of such a service, even if that means an undetermined delay. We are awaiting further word from them.

n       The Sikh leaders and their people understandably are both grieving and busy. There has been little time available for discussion, with both temples holding separate Sikh prayer services/vigils, and with the community visitation and funerals starting this Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. at Oak Creek High School.

n       In the meantime, I and others from the Interfaith Conference Cabinet and our supporters have attended some of the formal and spontaneous prayer services that have arisen, including the Sikh temple services. We have conveyed the interfaith community’s deep-felt condolences and support, and the Sikhs with whom we have communicated have been very appreciative.

n      We have had a presence in the news media. The statement that we issued on the day of the shooting (posted on our website, at was excerpted by Journal Sentinel religion reporter Annysa Johnson as the conclusion of her story on Monday. The Rev. Jean Dow, chair of our Cabinet, was quoted in Annysa’s story on Tuesday. I was the guest on Kathleen Dunn’s Wisconsin Public Radio show for half an hour on Monday, and Dr. Swarnjit Arora, the longtime Sikh representative on the Interfaith Conference’s Milwaukee Association for Interfaith Relations, was her guest for a full hour on Tuesday. Both programs are archived at   I have fielded questions from a variety of other news media.

n       I will alert to other developments as they occur.  


Thank you all for your interest in the Interfaith Conference and for your continuing support.




Tom Heinen



   Tom Heinen, Executive Director

   5409 W. Vliet Street

   Milwaukee, WI 53208

   (414) 276-9050






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