By Amrinder Singh
Published: Aug. 11, 2012
In the aftermath of the attack on Sikhs in Wisconsin, President Barack Obama has called his fellow citizens to do some soul searching.
Sikhs around the world have also undertaken similar exercise, and many have been left wondering: Why have so many Sikhs been attacked in America since 9-11.
I think there is lack of communication and interaction with mainstream and other communities that can sometimes lead to such disastrous consequences.
Here is my attempt to explain my religion to fellow Squamish citizen.
Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with more than 30 million followers spread over 165 countries.
Sikihism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region by Guru Nanak Dev, who was followed by ten successive gurus.
Sikhism preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind, promoting peace, integration, co-existence and emphasises the importance of human values.
The teachings of our ten gurus are enshrined in the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.
It commands its followers to:
1. Earn their living by doing honest and productive work
2. Share the fruit of their honest labour with the needy
and those unable to help themselves; and
3. Remember the Lord, the Creator, at all times.
People of all religions are welcome to the Gurdwara.
A free community kitchen can be found at every Gurdwara which serves meals to everyone.
All Sikhs are called upon to wear five articles of faith. They are Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (metal bracelet), Kachera (specific style of undergarments), and Kirpan (a short, curved sword).
All Sikhs share the surname Singh, which means a lion. All Sikhs women se the name Kaur, which means a princess. In Sikhism these titles eliminate discrimination based on “family name” (which denotes a specific caste) and reinforces that all humans are sovereigns and equal under God.
Why do Sikhs wear turbans?
Sikhs are meant to keep hair in its natural unaltered state. In addition to maintaining long hair themselves, Sikh parents are to keep their children’s hair intact from birth onwards.
Covering long hair with a turban helps to protect it from becoming tangled, or coming in contact with pollutants.
A turban also represents commitment to the Guru and reverence for God.
Sikhwiki is a good source for anyone to learn about the Sikh religion.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the Wisconsin victims, wounded officer and a community which is still in shock.
I think we can all co-exist despite our racial differences and visual identity, and remain kind to each other.