Mitt Romney made an unfortunate slip of the tongue during a fundraiser Tuesday, when he mistakenly said "sheik" instead of "Sikh" while commenting on the tragic shooting in Wisconsin.

According to a media pool report, the Republican presidential hopeful used the Arabic term, which typically refers to an elder or religious leader, to discuss Sikhism, a religion that originated in the Punjab region of South Asia.

"I was in Chicago earlier today," Romney said to about 280 supporters at a fundraiser in West Des Moines, Iowa. "We had a moment of silence in honor of the people who lost their lives at that sheik temple. I noted that it was a tragedy for many, many reasons. Among them are the fact that people, the sheik people are among the most peaceable and loving individuals you can imagine, as is their faith. And of course, the person who carried out this heinous act was a person motivated by racial hatred and religious intolerance."

When asked about the comments, Romney spokesman Rick Gorka insisted that the mix-up was a mispronunciation.

"He misspoke," Gorka said, according to the pool report. "He mispronounced similar sounding words. He was clearly referring to the tragedy in Wisconsin."

Earlier Tuesday, Romney offered his condolences to the victims of the tragic shooting that left six worshippers dead over the weekend at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. The former governor said the suspected shooter, Wade Michael Page, was "motivated by hate," and called for prayers for the victims.

The Sikh community regularly bemoans how frequently its members are confused for Muslims in America.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A man reacts outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wis. where a shooting took place on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders look on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed the mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A police officer surrounds the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed the mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders are directed by police officers as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police stand guard as bystanders watch at the scene of a shooting inside a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. Police and witnesses describe a chaotic situation with an unknown number of victims, suspects and possible hostages.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders stand outside the scene of a shooting inside The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed the mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin. At least six people were killed when a shooter, who was shot dead by a police officer, opened fire on congregants in the Milwaukee suburb.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Map locates Oak Creek, Wis., site of shooting at Sikh temple.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A woman reacts with others as they await word on a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, where police and witnesses describe a chaotic situation with an unknown number of victims, suspects and possible hostages.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders sit in the shade at the scene of a shooting inside The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis, Sunday, Aug 5, 2012. Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt says tactical officers have been through the temple where shots were fired about 10:30 a.m. Sunday. He says they found four people inside the building and three people outside.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin. At least six people were killed when a shooter, who was shot dead by a police officer, opened fire on congregants in the Milwaukee suburb.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Armed police investigate the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis. where a shooting took place on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A bystander looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A woman talks on her phone outside The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police personnel move outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis, where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People watch police personnel outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police personnel move outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police personnel move outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A police officer talks with bystanders outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Various police personnel look into a parked vehicle outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin. At least six people were killed when a shooter, who was later shot dead by a police officer, opened fire on congregants in the Milwaukee suburb.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A man wipes away tears outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis. where a shooting took place on Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A tactical officer walks past the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Women walk with a red cross worker outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wi, where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People mill around in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    An ambulance drives down Howell Ave as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A tactical officer runs to position as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service on August, 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People look on in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People wait for word on family and friends in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police guard the front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police guard the front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People mill around in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A police officer guards an area in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A woman uses a phone as people react outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wi, where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.