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[xml-dev] Hate crimes against Sikh Community......

Sorry for using this bandwidth to educate ourselves about Sikh religion. The
followers of Sikhism are called Sikhs (people with beard and turban) and now
have become target of hate crime since last few days. Sikhs are neither
Muslims nor Hindus and have nothing to do Osama bin Laden.

For slides on Sikhism and its history: check out


Please forgive me if you think I shouldn't have this e-mail to this mailing
group. We are a global society and learning about each other will make this
world a peaceful place to live. If you agree, please share information about
Sikhism with family and friends so that innocent Sikhs don't become target
of hate crimes because of their visible identity.

Satwinder Mangat



Sikh community in America would like to join their fellow Americans in
condemning the horrific acts that took place on the morning of September 11,
2001. Sikhs are saddened by the tremendous loss of life from these actions,
and their thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. Sikhs
pray that the United States Government is able to swiftly bring those
responsible for these atrocities to justice.

Since many Americans commonly mistake Sikhs for followers of Islam, or
associated with Osama Bin Laden because of turban, there are reports of
violent attacks directed against members of the Sikh community. Sikh
community request Amercian fellow citizens to educate themselves about
Sikhism so that innocent Sikhs don't become soft target of hate because of
their visibile identity. Sikhs are neither Muslims nor Hindus and has
nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden.

The Sikhism originated in Punjab state of India about 500 years ago. The
brief introduction to Sikhism is given below. Check www.sikhs.org,
www.sikhnet.com, www.sikhmediawatch.com for more details on Sikhism.

All Sikh Americans extend their prayers and solidarity to those who have
been affected by this devastating act of terrorism, and hope that the
diverse members of our nation can come together as one in this time of
national crisis.


Introduction to Sikhism

A way of life and philosophy well ahead of its time when it was founded over
500 years ago, The Sikh religion today has a following of over 20 million
people worldwide. Sikhism preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of
God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind, social justice and
denounces superstitions and blind rituals. Sikhism is open to all through
the teachings of its 10 Gurus enshrined in the Sikh Holy Book and Living
Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Who and What is a Sikh?

The word 'Sikh' in the Punjabi language means 'disciple', Sikhs are the
disciples of God who follow the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh
Gurus. The wisdom of these teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (holy book)
are practical and universal in their appeal to all mankind.

"I observe neither Hindu fasting nor the ritual of the Muslim Ramadan month;
Him I serve who at the last shall save. The Lord of universe of the Hindus,
Gosain and Allah to me are one; From Hindus and Muslims have I broken free.
I perform neither Kaaba pilgrimage nor at bathing spots worship; One sole
Lord I serve, and no other. I perform neither the Hindu worship nor the
Muslim prayer; To the Sole Formless Lord in my heart I bow. We neither are
Hindus nor Muslims; Our body and life belong to the One Supreme Being who
alone is both Ram and Allah for us." (Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib,
Raga Bhairon pg. 1136)

"Any human being who faithfully believes in: (i) One Immortal Being, (ii)
Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh, (iii) The Guru Granth
Sahib, (iv) The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and, (v) the
baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any
other religion is a Sikh." (Reht Maryada, Sikh Code of Conduct)

Philosophy and Beliefs

 - There is only One God. He is the same God for all people of all
religions. The Sikhs will worship only God. They will not set up any idols,
gods, goddesses or statues for worship nor shall they worship any human

- Basic tenents of Sikhism are:
	a) Honest labour and work (Kirat Karna) are the approved way of living ones
life. It is considered honourable to earn ones daily bread through honest
work and not by begging or dishonest means.

	b) Sharing with others (Vand Chhakna) is also a social responsibility. The
individual is expected to help others in need through charity.

	c) Community service (Seva)is also an intergral part of Sikhism. The free
community kitchen (langar) found at every gurdwara (Religious place of
Sikhs) and open to people of all religions is one expression of this
community service.

 - The soul goes through cycles of births and deaths before it reaches the
human form. The goal of our life is to lead an exemplary existence so that
one may merge with God. Sikhs should remember God at all times and practice
living a virtuous and truthful life while maintaining a balance between
their spiritual obligations and temporal obligations.

 - The true path to achieving salvation and merging with God does not
require renunciation of the world or celibacy, but living the life of a
householder, earning a honest living and avoiding worldly temptations and

 - Sikhism condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of
pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc.

 - Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are
all equal in the eyes of God. It teaches the full equality of men and women.
Women can participate in any religious function or perform any Sikh ceremony
or lead the congregation in prayer.

 - Sikhism stressed the full equality of women, rejecting female
infanticide, permitting widow remarriage and rejects purdah (women wearing

 - Normal Family life (Grasth) is encouraged, celibacy or renunciation of
the world is not necessary to achieve salvation. The devotee must live in
the world yet keep his mind pure. He must be a soldier, a scholar, a saint.

History and Practices

The founder of the Sikh religion was Guru Nanak who was born in 1469. He
preached a message of love and understanding and criticized the blind
rituals of the Hindus and Muslims. Guru Nanak passed on his enlightened
leadership of this new religion to nine successive Gurus. The final living
Guru, Guru Gobind Singh died in 1708.

During his lifetime Guru Gobind Singh established the Khalsa order (meaning
'The Pure'), soldier-saints. The Khalsa uphold the highest Sikh virtues of
commitment, dedication and a social conscious. The Khalsa are men and women
who have undergone the Sikh baptism ceremony and who strictly follow the
Sikh Code of Conduct and Conventions and wear the prescribed physical
articles of the faith. One of the more noticeable being the uncut hair
(required to be covered with a turban for men) and the Kirpan (ceremonial

Before his death in 1708 Guru Gobind Singh declared that the Sikhs no longer
needed a living and appointed his spiritual successor as Sri Guru Granth
Sahib, his physical successor as the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh felt that all
the wisdom needed by Sikhs for spiritual guidance in their daily lives could
be found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs. Sri Guru
Granth Sahib is unique in the world of religious scriptures because not only
is it accorded the status of being the spiritual head of the Sikh religion,
but besides the poetry of the Gurus, it also contains the writings of saints
of other faiths whose thoughts were consistent with those of the Sikh Gurus.

Sikhism does not have priests, which were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh.
The Guru felt that they had become corrupt and full of ego. Sikhs only have
custodians of the Guru Granth Sahib (granthi), and any Sikh is free to read
the Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurdwara (a Sikh temple) or in their home. All
people of all religions are welcome to the Gurdwara. A free community
kitchen can be found at every Gurdwara which serves meals to all people of
all faiths. Guru Nanak first started this institution which outline the
basic Sikh principles of service, humility and equality.

The most significant historical religious center for the Sikhs is Harmiandir
Sahib (The Golden Temple) at Amritsar in the state of Punjab in northern
India. It is the inspirational and historical center of Sikhism but is not a
mandatory place of pilgrimage or worship. All places where Sri Guru Granth
Sahib are installed are considered equally holy for Sikhs.