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Local Sikhs worry about more violence after Wis. shooting

Monday - 8/6/2012, 3:40pm  ET

WASHINGTON - The shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin has local Sikhs concerned about more violence.

Ninety-nine percent of people in the Washington area with turbans are Sikh- Americans, says Navdeep Singh with the Sikh- American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Singh grew up in Northern Virginia and says Sikhs are often mistaken for people who are Muslim or Hindu.

"People just look at you weird," he says. "Just because you have a turban and beard, or just because you come from a certain country, or just because you follow a certain faith, does not mean you are an enemy of this country."

It's not the first time local Sikhs have felt targeted.

"Many times it's out of a lack of understanding, but sometimes they just don't like you," Singh says. "They think that because of the way you look, because of your faith, you have to be evil ... However, an act of hate, no matter whom it's targeted against, is an act of hate."

WTOP's Neal Augenstein contributed to this report. Follow Neal and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)