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BREAKING: Sikh Temple Shooting, Seven Dead, Gunman Killed

7 Sikhs have been killed inside a Sikh Temple. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families!

At the moment we do not know who the shooter was, or his motivation, but in light of the rise in bias attacks and incidents against Sikhs, who are often mistaken for Muslims, this story may be related to violent anti-Muslim Islamophobia and general xenophobia.

Police: 7 dead in Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting

OAK CREEK, Wis.—A gunman opened fire Sunday and killed six people at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee before he was killed in an exchange of gunfire with one of the first officers to respond to the chaotic scene, authorities said.

The shootings happened before 10:30 a.m., when witnesses said several dozen people were gathering at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin for a service. Hours of uncertainty followed as police in tactical gear and carrying assault rifles surrounded the temple with armored vehicles and ambulances.

A crowd gathered outside as officers descended on the temple and some spoke of talking or exchanging text messages with people inside. Some said they had heard there were multiple shooters, others spoke of women and children held hostage.

The first official word from police was that they didn’t know how many victims or suspects were involved. But a short time later, after an extensive search of the temple, authorities said they did not believe there was more than one shooter.

Jatin Der Mangat, 38, of Racine, said his uncle Satwant Singh Kaleka, the temple’s president, was one of those shot. Mangat didn’t know how serious Kaleka’s injuries were.

“This is nerve-racking. No one really knows what’s going on. Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Mangat said. Later, when he learned of the deaths, he said, “It was like the heart just sat down. This shouldn’t happen anywhere.”

Oak Creek Police John Edwards said officers called to the scene were tending a victim when the suspect ambushed one officer and shot him multiple times. The suspect then shot at another officer, who fired back and killed him.

Earlier, police had said the officer who was shot killed the suspected shooter.

Tactical units went through the building and found four people dead inside the temple and two outside, in addition to the shooter.

Two others were wounded along with the police officer, Edwards said.

All three were being treated at an area trauma center. Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt, who was helping in the investigation, said the police officer had surgery and is expected to survive.

Wentlandt did not identify the suspect or say what might have motivated the shootings. Family members identified some victims.

Sukhwindar Nagr, of Racine, said he called his brother-in-law’s phone and a priest at the temple answered and told him that his brother-in-law had been shot, along with three priests. The priest also said women and children were hiding in temple closets, Nagr said.

Devendar Nagra, 48, of Mount Pleasant, said his sister was in the temple preparing a meal when the shooting started. He said he spoke with her and she escaped injury by hiding in the kitchen, but a priest told him that his brother-in-law, the temple’s caretaker, had been shot in the leg.

Nagra’s spoke to his sister as she was evacuated from the temple to a nearby bowling alley. LeRon Bridges, 16, of Oak Creek, works at the bowling alley and said he was in a supply closet when he heard four gunshots. He looked outside, saw police coming and went to get his boss.

“There were more and more police showing up,” he said. “They all pulled out their assault rifles and ran toward the building.”

Bridges said police brought people evacuated from the temple to the bowling alley in two armored trucks. At one point, about 50 to 60 people were at the bowling alley, including police officers questioning those from the temple and paramedics treating their wounds, he said.

“They were just hysterical,” Bridges said. “There were kids. One big load came out of the truck.”

Sikhism is a monotheistic faith founded more than 500 years ago in South Asia. It has roughly 27 million followers worldwide. Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often cover their heads with turbans — which are considered sacred — and refrain from shaving their beards. There are roughly 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S., according to estimates. The majority worldwide live in India.

The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin started in 1997 with about 25 families who gathered in community halls in Milwaukee. Construction on the current temple in Oak Creek began in 2006, according to the temple’s website.

Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in bias attacks since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the U.S. since 9/11, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Sikhs don’t practice the same religion as Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims, advocates say.

The New York Police Department issued a statement saying it was increasing security around Sikh temples in the city as a precaution in the wake of the Wisconsin shooting, which happened two weeks after a gunman killed 12 people at movie theater in Colorado.

——

Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee, Pat Condon in Minneapolis and Sophia Tareen and Michelle Janaye Nealy in Chicago contributed to this report.

**********************

UPDATE I: 

Kanwarpdeep Singh Kaleka, who was working as an interpreter for the police and is a member of the temple, said that the shooter had a 9/11 tattoo on one of his arms.

Kaleka also told CNN that the shooter seemed to be targeting men wearing turbans.

“Everyone of all faiths are allowed in the temple,” Kaleka said. “It’s unfortunate that someone took advantage of this.”

UPDATE II:

CNN is reporting that not only have police identified the dead gunman, but they are combing through his house. They will not release his identity right now, they are looking through computers to figure out why he did what he did.

Gunman may have been in the Temple before considering his familiarity with it and his movements inside the Temple.

UPDATE III:

Tattoos on the body of the slain Sikh temple gunman and certain biographical details led the FBI to treat the attack at a Milwaukee-area temple as an act of domestic terrorism, officials said Sunday.

“The investigation will have to continue to see and determine the motive,” said a federal law enforcement official who had been briefed on the early planning for the case. “We don’t know much about the motive at this point.”

The designation of “domestic terrorism” under the FBI’s rubric — which was not applied to the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting — implies a political agenda. The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

UPDATE IV:

OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) — The gunman who killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin before he was shot to death by police was identified Monday as a 40-year-old Army veteran and former leader of a white supremacist metal band.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Haanstad in Milwaukee identified the shooter as Wade Michael Page. Page joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998, according to a defense official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information yet about the suspect.

Page was a “frustrated neo-Nazi” who led a racist white supremacist band, the Southern Poverty Law Center said Monday. Page told a white supremacist website in an interview in 2010 that he had been part of the white-power music scene since 2000 when he left his native Colorado and started the band, End Apathy, in 2005, the nonprofit civil rights organization said.

Page joined the military in Milwaukee in 1992 and was a repairman for the Hawk missile system before switching jobs to become one of the Army’s psychological operations specialists, according to the defense official.

So-called “Psy-Ops” specialists are responsible for the analysis, development and distribution of intelligence used for information and psychological effect; they research and analyze methods of influencing foreign populations.

“He did not speak, he just began shooting,” said Singh, relaying a description of the attack from Satpal Kaleka.

Kaleka said the 6-foot-tall bald white man — who worshippers said they had never before seen at the temple — seemed like he had a purpose and knew where he was going.

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  • Jai

    On a more positive note, the following well-researched and informative article by the Turban Campaign (which includes Sikhs Against the EDL) discussing the tragedy in Wisconsin is definitely worth reading: http://www.turbancampaign.com/updates/unite-against-racists-fascists-islamophobes/

    The article includes numerous embedded URL links to further articles & information regarding recent events, including details of the White House’s support, a photograph of Rev. Jesse Jackson helping to repair the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a photograph of (and links to multiple statements from) Muslims expressing solidarity with the Sikh community, along with a photograph of Muslims praying inside the Sikh temple prior to breaking their fast at one of the recent candlelight vigils. The last part of the article also quotes in full my original comment on this Loonwatch thread.

    Along with the New York Times article I mentioned in my previous comment, Loonwatch’s editorial team may wish to cross-publish the Turban Campaign’s article, at your discretion.

  • Jai

    On a more positive note, the following well-researched and informative article by the “Turban Campaign” (which includes “Sikhs Against the EDL”) discussing the tragedy in Wisconsin is definitely worth reading: http://www.turbancampaign.com/updates/unite-against-racists-fascists-islamophobes/

    The article includes numerous embedded URL links to further articles & information regarding recent events, including details of the White House’s support, a photograph of Rev. Jesse Jackson helping to repair the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a photograph of (and links to multiple statements from) Muslims expressing solidarity with the Sikh community, along with a photograph of Muslims praying inside the Sikh temple prior to breaking their fast at one of the recent candlelight vigils. The last part of the article also quotes in full my original comment on this Loonwatch thread.

    Along with the New York Times article I mentioned in my previous comment, Loonwatch’s editorial team may wish to cross-publish the Turban Campaign’s article, at your discretion.

  • Jai

    The following New York Times article makes some very good points:

    “If the Sikh temple had been a mosque”:

    Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/us/if-the-sikh-temple-had-been-a-muslim-mosque-on-religion.html?_r=2

    Extracts:

    “Hundreds of times since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Sikhs have been the victims of bias crimes. The perpetrators have invariably assumed that because Sikh men wear turbans and have beards they are Muslims, even specifically Taliban. How terrible it is that it has taken the slayings in Wisconsin to serve as a national teachable moment about the theology and practices of the Sikh religion.

    Yet the mistaken-identity narrative carries with it an unspoken, even unexamined premise. It implies that somehow the public would have — even should have — reacted differently had Mr. Page turned his gun on Muslims attending a mosque. It suggests that such a crime would be more explicable, more easily rationalized, less worthy of moral outrage.

    …..there remain well-endowed groups like Jihad Watch, ACT for America and Stop Islamization of America. Several states have passed statutes outlawing the application of Shariah, and thus lending credence to the canard that American Muslims seek to impose their religious law. Representative Michele Bachmann, a former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, recently accused a Muslim aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Such talk adds up to what John Shuford, the director of the Institute for Hate Studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., calls “enmification” — the process of turning a particular group into an enemy. Now that American Muslims have been enmified, violence against them is understood in a mitigated, mediated way.

    “Rationalization (or the capability of being rationalized) is a good way of putting it,” Professor Shuford wrote in an e-mail message. “Not in the sense of rational behavior or excusability, but in the sense of being understandable, in the way that sometimes leaps in logic, mistaken or misinformed beliefs, outright ignorance and prejudice, and influential social narratives can be quite intelligible even to those who do not view the world in the same way.””

  • Jai

    Garibaldi,

    “Also, have you read this: http://www.spencerwatch.com/spenceritis. It has to be updated but you will find a wealth of his bigoted quotes, including those you mention from the Washington Times.”

    Yes, it’s an excellent website. Along with the aforementioned Washington Times article, another piece which exposes Spencer’s real attitudes is the following article by a professional journalist, documenting the very close parallels between Spencer’s anti-Muslim propaganda and the Third Reich Nazi Julius Streicher’s anti-Semitic propaganda: http://middleclassdub.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/islamophobia-and-antisemitism-same.html

    As the article highlights, even Spencer’s disingenuous argument in his own defence is identical to Streicher’s own statements at the time. Nevertheless, during the Nuremburg Trials after WW2, the United States and its allies convicted Streicher of crimes against humanity, for essentially laying the foundations for the Holocaust as a result of his obsessive writings demonising Judaism and Jews.

  • Garibaldi

    @Jai, once again thank you for some much needed info on who exactly that small group of outside the majority Sikhs who show up to some of Spencer-Geller’s events are.

    Also, have you read this: http://www.spencerwatch.com/spenceritis

    It has to be updated but you will find a wealth of his bigoted quotes, including those you mention from the Washington Times.

  • Jai

    One final point regarding Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch article claiming “solidarity with the Sikhs”: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/08/standing-in-solidarity-with-the-sikhs.html

    Spencer’s article mentions that representatives from the “Namdhari Sikh Foundation” attended SIOA’s anti-Muslim demonstration at Ground Zero last September. Namdharis are very much a minority sect and, due to considerable differences involving a number of core aspects of Sikh theology, they are not actually a part of mainstream Sikhism. Details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namdhari, http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Namdhari.

    Even worse for Spencer and Geller, their closest international allies, the English Defence League, have been forcefully condemned by a very long list of British Sikh temples & organisations that are a part of mainstream Sikhism, including the two largest Sikh temples outside India (see: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/11633, http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/12890). And one of those organisations is headed by an extremely respected Sikh leader who represents the international Sikh community at the Parliament of the World’s Religions and is himself very closely affiliated with the global Sikh authorities at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

    Not only has the international Sikh leader concerned been given an award by England’s Queen for his organisation’s exemplary humanitarian activities, but due to his interfaith bridge-building efforts the Catholic Church recently gave him the extraordinary honour of formally declaring him a Knight of the Pontifical Order of St Gregory the Great, one of the Catholic Church’s highest papal honours, which is bestowed on non-Catholics only in very rare cases: http://peterjennings.co.uk/2012/news/an-historic-moment-in-the-life-of-the-catholic-church-archbishop-longley-invests-international-sikh-leader-a-knight-of-st-gregory-in-st-chad%E2%80%99s-cathedral/.

    Spencer, Geller and the EDL’s attempt to hijack Sikhs has backfired very badly indeed, and the fact that their most respected British Sikh opponent has actually been declared a Knight by the Catholic Church must be particularly galling for Spencer himself.

  • corey

    @garibaldi
    the comment is gone now which im guessing he deleted it after seeing it post it on here while probably searching for death threats to in a desperate attempt demonize loonwatch as a hate site.

  • Jai

    The following is a very good article about the tragedy in Wisconsin from an American perspective: http://hopenothate.org.uk/international/article/402/mass-shooting-at-us-sikh-temple

    And the following are similarly excellent articles from a British Sikh perspective:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/06/wisconsin-temple-shooting-sikh-scapegoats?INTCMP=SRCH

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/08/sikhs-targeted-anti-muslim-extremists

  • Jai

    Garibaldi,

    “I think your points are crucial. Spencer’s bigotry won’t allow him to do so, he will not admit to anything redeeming about Islam, and only a “bad Muslim” is good, in his opinion.”

    A key factor here is that Robert Spencer is on record as publicly admitting that his anti-Islam propaganda is heavily motivated by his perceived vested interests as a Catholic, specifically his belief that Islam is the [Catholic] “Church’s chief rival in terms of religion” (see: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2003/dec/1/20031201-091332-2655r/?page=all#pagebreak). Spencer is essentially committing taqiyyah (according to his own falsified definition of the term) on behalf of Catholicism. Which also means that Spencer’s various allies & supporters are aiding and abetting Spencer’s deception, in some cases unwittingly and in others deliberately.

    This is the reason that Spencer is so obsessed with caricaturing, demonising and discrediting Islam, by his own admission. It is also worth noting that Spencer would therefore conduct the same kind of malicious propaganda campaign against any other major world religion (and its followers) if he decides that it poses a serious threat to his agenda for the dominance of the Catholic Church.

    “More to your point though Jai, I’m thinking of the prospects of doing a feature in which we deal with the various faith traditions of the world and their views towards bigotry and hatred, with a special emphasis on Islamophobia.”

    That’s a very good idea. It would be worthwhile including Catholicism’s views towards bigotry and hatred, considering Spencer’s admission that he is (unilaterally) acting on behalf of the Catholic Church. Current official Vatican policy on Islam & Muslims is, of course, actually very different to Spencer’s own claims (eg: http://www.zenit.org/article-24175?l=english).

    “For instance when encountering Sikhism’s views, Spencer’s faux solidarity would be severely challenged and he would have, again, a lot of explaining to do.”

    Indeed. Sikhism promotes a very different humanitarian & spiritual message to Robert Spencer’s own beliefs and the despicable methods he’s willing to use to achieve his aims. Furthermore, not only does Sikhism scathingly condemn people who act like Spencer and his main allies (and emphasises the importance of opposing such individuals), but — as discussed previously — the religion also explicitly contradicts Spencer’s claims about Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Mohammad.

    Spencer & Pamela Geller’s main British allies, the EDL leadership, have similarly tried to hijack Sikhs, but their actions have repeatedly backfired spectacularly.

    As for the rest of Spencer’s disingenuous JihadWatch article, his accusatory tone when referring to “white supremacist neo-Nazis” isn’t exactly convincing when you bear in mind the fact that Spencer himself personally hosted a demonstration in Stockholm last weekend in conjunction with Swedish organisers who are white supremacist neo-Nazis (http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/08/the-swedish-allies-of-geller-spencer-and-the-edl/).

  • Just Stopping By

    @Garibaldi says, “More to your point though Jai, I’m thinking of the prospects of doing a feature in which we deal with the various faith traditions of the world and their views towards bigotry and hatred, with a special emphasis on Islamophobia.”

    Excellent idea, Garibaldi, in many, many ways! And I bet that you would get a lot of volunteers to help out.

  • corey

    @garibaldi
    another comment on there that stood out to me was one from a very long time ago on an article about two imams who were kicked off of a plane and as per usual the jw fanboys were in celabration and one commenter called “arafat” seemed to have an idea for safety of flight crew is to have muslim exclusive flights including the crew and have a remote detonated bomb on there and if the flight ever went off course and did not respond to why they are off course the tsa can detonate the bomb , and no I am not kidding http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/05/imams-en-route-to-conference-on-islamophobia-pulled-off-plane-compare-selves-to-rosa-parks.html I can only wonder how spencer did not find anytning objectionable with that comment and allow it consideirng that anyone who is probably an expert on flight safety can probably write a pdf document to what the hell is wrong with this kind of idea.

  • Garibaldi

    @Jai, you wrote,

    If Robert Spencer’s alleged “solidarity with the Sikhs” is sincere then he should also do some very serious thinking about his extremely bigoted attitudes towards Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Mohammad. As detailed in my previous comment, Sikhism’s teachings on this subject are actually the complete opposite of Robert Spencer’s own claims.

    I think your points are crucial. Spencer’s bigotry won’t allow him to do so, he will not admit to anything redeeming about Islam, and only a “bad Muslim” is good, in his opinion.
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/11/robert-spencer-v-peter-kreeft-“the-only-good-muslim-is-a-bad-muslim”/

    Even though, when he was put on the spot by Alan Colmes he fumbled, much to the embarrassment of his followers, who thereafter said he was tricked into saying that “Islam makes many Muslims very moral.”
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/robert-spencer-admits-islam-makes-most-muslims-very-moral/

    What kind of a slip was that? Clearly his own self-styled taqiyyah? Was that his dhimmi moment? Of course, he was getting slapped (figuratively) around by Colmes and was afraid to appear as the bigot he is deep inside, and wallah, the truth willed out. Some of the spiritual schools of thought would even say that God inspired him to say such truth, despite his inner hatred towards everything Islam-Muslim related.

    More to your point though Jai, I’m thinking of the prospects of doing a feature in which we deal with the various faith traditions of the world and their views towards bigotry and hatred, with a special emphasis on Islamophobia. For instance when encoutering Sikhism’s views, Spencer’s faux solidarity would be severely challenged and he would have, again, a lot of explaining to do.

  • Garibaldi

    @Corey, you wrote about a JW commenter,

    “take each and every muslim on planet earth by the throat and paint a BIG ASS SWATSTIKA on there forhead”

    HA. Looks like Spencer’s doing as good of a job as he’s ever done moderating the comments:

    http://spencerwatch.com/2010/11/24/robert-spencer-of-jihadwatch-becomes-desperate-against-loonwatch/

    I recall that he even disputed at one time, in his blog-war with Charles Johnson of LGF that he permitted any racist, genocidal or anti-Muslim comments on his blog. He provided the slimy pseudo-lawyer weasel statement that, “whenever it comes to his attention” he takes proper action. The fact is 90% of the comments on JihadWatch would need to be deleted if such a criteria were actually upheld!

  • Jai

    Garibaldi, Jack Cope,

    Thank you very much for your kind words. The powerful humanitarian message of the Sikh Gurus clearly still has great resonance, especially in our troubled times. Let’s hope it reaches the ears of those who really need to hear it.

    “jw is spreading there sympathies for the sikhs http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/08/standing-in-solidarity-with-the-sikhs.html

    If Robert Spencer’s alleged “solidarity with the Sikhs” is sincere then he should also do some very serious thinking about his extremely bigoted attitudes towards Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Mohammad. As detailed in my previous comment, Sikhism’s teachings on this subject are actually the complete opposite of Robert Spencer’s own claims.

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  • Brother

    Hey Loonwatch, I may have missed it, but how come no mention of the atrocities happening in Burma right now by Buddhist monks against Muslims?

  • Sarah Brown

    Garibaldi – yes, perhaps it does look a bit odd – I should have put ‘political in the broadest and most neutral sense’ or something!

  • corey

    jw is spreading there sympathies for the sikhs http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/08/standing-in-solidarity-with-the-sikhs.html of course I love the part where he neglects to mention sikhs have been attacked being mistaken for muslims for example http://www.sikhnet.com/news/cair-asks-fbi-probe-attack-calif-sikh-mistaken-muslim of course I think the more notable comment would be from one idiot who wants to and I quote “take each and every muslim on planet earth by the throat and paint a BIG ASS SWATSTIKA on there forhead” charming I wonder if that includes children as well the dumbass.

  • Jai, may I also say thank you for your comment. I’ve always had respect for Sikhs; you often face the exact same problems that we have as your faith is ‘funny looking’ and ‘foreign’. I always found the Sikh Gurus to be some of the most inspiring yet often vastly under-rated religious persons of all time. They were men of this world yet they achieved so much in their time, I have respect for their works having read many.

    Muslims and Sikhs may have had their differences over time, let us hope that this furthers to unite our communities that are, in reality, so different yet so similar.

  • Garibaldi

    @Tomek,

    I do believe he killed them because they were “Sikhs” but my suspicion is he had no knowledge of Sikhism. To him they were from somewhere else, and as I said in light of the many attacks on Sikhs in the USA, it’s clear that we had to post this!

  • Garibaldi

    @Jai, thank you for your valuable comment and for sharing the powerful verses of Guru Granth Saab. This should go a long way in dispelling the notions that Sikhs and Muslims are inherent adversaries, as some have speculated and stated since this attack occurred.

  • Garibaldi

    @Sarah,

    I understand you were largely agreeing with the post, I appreciate that actually, but I think the language about a “political point” is just a little strange.

  • Jai

    Speaking as a Sikh, I’d like to thank everyone reading this who has sincerely expressed condolences and admiration for the Sikh community after this terrible event.

    However, some people (on various online comments threads and elsewhere) are also obviously exploiting this tragedy to caricature & attack Islam and Muslims yet again. It’s therefore worth clarifying Sikhism’s actual stance on this subject, which is very different to the toxic message that these so-called “Friends of Sikhs & Sikhism / opponents of Muslims & Islam” are trying to promote.

    For example, these verses from page 141 of the Sikh scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, clearly state how highly Sikhism esteems a true Muslim:

    “It is difficult to be called a Muslim; if one is truly a Muslim, then he may be called one. First, let him savour the religion of the Prophet as sweet; then, let his pride of his possessions be scraped away. Becoming a true Muslim, a disciple of the faith of Mohammed, let him put aside the delusion of death and life. As he submits to God’s Will, and surrenders to the Creator, he is rid of selfishness and conceit. And when, O Nanak, he is merciful to all beings, only then shall he be called a Muslim.”

    The final version of the Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by the 10th Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh.

    The following verses from Guru Gobind Singh’s own writings, in this case known as the Akal Ustat, make Sikhism’s stance explicitly clear too; they also emphasise the importance of recognising our common identity as human beings:

    “Someone calls himself a Hindu, another a Turk, someone a Shia, another a Sunni. Recognise the whole of humanity as one race…..He the One is the only God of us all: it is His Form, His Light that is diffused in all…..The temple or the mosque are the same, the Hindu worship or the Muslim prayer are the same; all humans are the same, it is through error they appear different…..it is the one God who created all. The Hindu God and the Muslim God are the same; let no man even by mistake suppose there is a difference.”

    This is why the founders of Sikhism — the Sikh Gurus — deliberately included hymns & religious poetry by saints from multiple faiths when compiling our sacred scriptures, including hundreds of verses by Muslim saints; similarly, the scriptures also repeatedly use Islamic (as well as Sikh and Hindu) names for God. Even the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was laid by a Muslim saint upon the invitation of the Sikh Guru at the time, and one of the later Sikh Gurus also had a mosque built for Muslims who’d settled in the town he’d founded. Several Sikh Gurus (including Guru Gobind Singh) also provided military support to Muslim princes during imperial wars of succession.

    The powerful message encapsulated by the verses I’ve quoted — and indeed by the lives of the Sikh Gurus themselves — is anathema to racists and the kind of people who are opportunistically exploiting this terrible tragedy as another stick with which to beat Muslims. All I can say to such individuals is the following: If you’re going to take anything positive from recent events, understand Sikhism’s message of the inherent unity & equality of mankind and (if you’re spiritually inclined) the divine light in all people as God’s children, regardless of religion or race.

  • H. Torrance Griffin

    Do you know what is depressing? When people condemn this killer because “He got the wrong target, Sikhs are the mortal enemies of Muslims and we sould treat them as allies.”

    The words Missing the Point comes to mind….

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