This piece was originally published on The Daily Beast. The rash of hate crimes following the Boston Marathon bombings reminds us of the major challenges religious minorities face in this country. Last week a taxi passenger in Northern Virginia verbally and physically attacked his driver for being “a fucking Muslim.” The victim, Mohamed Salim, who [...]
Given the recent attacks on American, British, and German embassies by Muslim extremists we are confronted by a serious claim. By reflecting on a Redditor’s post about Islam in the midst of a supposedly secular Belgian culture we have to ask, is Islam a religion unlike any other? Are they an exception to otherwise tolerant world-religions? It would seem that extremism is on the Rise. And, as Prince Charles says, “extremism is, by definition, the exception to the rule.” Is Islam the only religion guilty of this charge? Remember, Remember, the Eleventh of September. Where there was once the Two Towers, there will be only One.
“…I prefer to think about how Sikhs can contribute to, and renew a paradigm for, thinking about interfaith work. At the same time, we should also rethink our Abrahamic commitments, and move towards dialogue that is more inclusive.”
Discussing Sikh theology and practice could be a great discussion for a community dialogue, but will do little to prevent domestic terrorism and religious prejudice. What we’ve learned from anti-Muslim sentiment is simple; friendships are the best way to combat fear and hatred. What I recalled in the days following the shooting, and in thinking about this blog post, were the places Sikhs have touched my life and made me who I am through their friendship; unbeknownst to me, quite significantly.
Article first published as Faith, Race, and Terror on Blogcritics. It’s mourning in America again. Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that the blood of the innocent cries forever. We join our cries with the blood spilt in a Sikh sanctuary last Sunday. As a Black American, I cannot contemplate this tragedy without contemplating the legacy of [...]
Yesterday evening, the Boston University Sikh Association hosted a citywide vigil at the University’s Marsh Chapel as a communal response to the attack on the Sikh temple in Milwaukee this past weekend, during which six people were killed. As the University Chaplain for Community Life at Marsh Chapel, I was asked to speak at the [...]
This is a strange thing for a Sikh to confess. I used to be really intimidated by our scripture – the Guru Granth Sahib. I would feel unworthy sitting before the Guru, and I was absolutely terrified of making mistakes while reading from the scripture. And even though I learned to read and speak the language from [...]
It’s not uncommon for kids to ask their parents about “that thing” on my head. In most instances, the parents look at me uncomfortably, embarrassed that I might be offended in some way. I’ll usually acknowledge their discomfort with an awkward smile before looking away and pretending not to notice as they try to discretely [...]
This past Friday, the White House hosted the first-ever policy briefing on Sikh civil rights issues. Amardeep Singh, Director of Programs for the Sikh Coalition and Commissioner for the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, opened the event with a jakara, a traditional way in which Sikhs announce their presence. As far as I know, it was also the first-ever jakara to resound in the halls of the White House.
This column is modified from a piece I wrote that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News. Last weekend, a 100-year old man finished a marathon in Toronto, Canada. Thousands gathered to celebrate his record-breaking feat, and he’s quickly become a global icon. Fauja Singh’s bright yellow turban and flowing white beard made it easy to pick him [...]