Romney trips over the word 'Sikh'

By the Associated Press | August 7, 2012 | 8:40 PM EDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney bows his head and leads a moment of silence for the Sikh shooting victims in Wisconsin before campaigning at Acme Industries in Elk Grove Village, Ill.,Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is tripping over the word "Sikh" (seek) as he discusses the shootings in Wisconsin that killed six members of the religion Sikhism (SEEK-ism).

In Des Moines on Tuesday, Romney mispronounced the word "Sikh" (seek) as "sheik" (sheek), a word with an altogether different meaning. A sheik (sheek) is an Arab leader. Sikhs (seeks) trace their religion to South Asia.

A Romney spokesman says the Republican candidate simply misspoke while addressing supporters in Des Moines. The campaign notes that Romney pronounced the word correctly while making similar comments earlier in the day in the Chicago area.

Romney is calling the shootings at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin "tragic." He says the gunman appears to have been "motivated by hate" and that Sikhs are peaceful and loving.