The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia expressed words of condolence and support for members of the Sikh community Aug. 9 in a letter cosigned by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

The ecumenical and interfaith group, including leaders of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Baha’i communities, responded to what it called the “senseless violence” in which a gunman killed six people and wounded four at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin Aug. 5.

The leaders said they stand with Sikhs “in solidarity, friendship, hope and prayer.”

“We are deeply shocked by this heinous act of violence against peaceful, innocent Americans targeted at their house of worship, apparently singled out because of their faith and appearance,” the letter read. “We strongly condemn violence against any religious group, and we are confident that federal, state and local law enforcement officials are closely examining the possibility that this was a hate crime. We pray for the victims, their families and all their loved ones.”

The leaders said they hoped the ideals of Philadelphia, “the birthplace of religious tolerance and freedom of worship,” would inspire “all Americans and all citizens of our global community to work to create societies that reflect these ideals, and that we might truly become a city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.”

The letter was signed by the organization’s co-conveners, Archbishop Chaput, Lutheran Bishop Claire Schenot Burkat, Imam Anwar Muhaimin and Rabbi David Straus.

The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia was formed in 2006 to unite religious leaders, build relationships of mutual support, offer a moral and spiritual voice and take action on issues of critical concern in the region, according to the Aug. 9 letter.

The council is coordinated by the Interfaith Center of

Greater Philadelphia.

— Matthew Gambino