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The Sikh turban: at once personal and extremely public
Harmeet Singh Soin (Left) and his brother Harkirat Singh Soin (Right) differ on wearing the Sikh turban.
August 8th, 2012
04:48 PM ET

The Sikh turban: at once personal and extremely public

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Harkirat Singh Soin remembers a day in 1999 when, after much contemplation, he finally took a seat in a barber's chair.

All his 18 years, he'd worn long hair, first in a top knot, then in a dastar, or turban. It was an expression of his Sikh faith and a distinct mark of his identity.

As his locks tumbled to the floor, Soin felt ashamed.

CNN iReporter: I am a Sikh, please don’t hate me

He thought of his upbringing in a suburban Milwaukee neighborhood by Punjabi parents who emigrated from India. He grew up on meals of homemade roti and daal makhani and sessions at Sunday school that instilled Sikh values. He thought also of how his mother had taken time to maintain her boys' long hair with love and care.

With every snip of the shears, he felt, he lost not just hair but parts of his being.

But he was tired of not fitting in, of being teased. Once when he was in elementary school, he was even beaten with sticks by neighborhood troublemakers, he says.

"I am guessing that they turned on me because I was different," says Soin, now 32 and studying for his U.S. medical license in Illinois after finishing medical school in China.

He became the first member of his family to shed the most visible signs of his faith. His father and older brother still wear a turban and beard.

He is like thousands of other Sikh men who have abandoned turbans to avoid discrimination or from fear of incidents like the shootings this week at the Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee. Others simply feel they are old hat and interfere with modern lifestyles.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The turban, tied in distinctive fashion, was a way to manage long hair and serves as the most instant way to recognize recognition of a Sikh.

Sikh men have worn turbans since 1699, when the last living guru bestowed a unique Sikh identity based on five articles of faith. Among them were a steel bracelet signifying a reality with no beginning or end; a sword representing resolve and justice; and unshorn hair as a gift of God and a declaration of humility.

In India, Sikhism's birthplace, the turban was first abandoned in large numbers in anti-Sikh riots that erupted after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984, says Manjit Singh, a leader of a Sikh nationalist political party in New Delhi.

Explainer: Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?

Even more Sikhs unraveled their turbans for good after the September 11 attacks in the United States. They felt vulnerable after some Sikhs were mistaken for Muslims and targeted by revenge-seeking zealots.

Just four days after the Twin Towers collapsed, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot five times and killed by aircraft mechanic Frank Roque. Roque was later found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On appeal, his sentence was reduced to life in prison.

In the years following, the Sikh Coalition, a New York-based advocacy group, reported more than 700 attacks or bias-related incidents against Sikhs.

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That was certainly cause for concern in the Soin family.

They displayed an American flag and bumper stickers on the family car that said: "Proud to be American" and "Sikh American."

"It was to show people that we are with you," Harkirat Soin says. "We are not who you think we are."

"We are not radical Muslims."

Soin's younger brother Manmeet stopped wearing a turban six years ago. Older brother Harmeet still wears his and has not been spared the sting of ignorance.

Harmeet Soin says he has been called "Osama" on the streets. And when he travels for his banking job, he gets called out at airport security every time, he says, even though he is a frequent flyer and has executive status with various airlines.

10 years after Sikh murder over 9/11, community continues to blend in and stand out

He says he, too, wanted to cut his hair when he was in school. But his father sat him down and asked: Is that the answer to your problem? Will you no longer be different then?

He realized then that the turban was as much his identity as his skin color.

"I am very proud of looking different," he says. "I am proud of my identity."

Harmeet Soin says he was disappointed when his brother first cut his hair and took off the turban. But he understands that Harkarit is an adult who has to be comfortable with the choices he makes.

The turban is a decided mark of difference for which Sikhs may have paid a heavy price last Sunday when gunman Wade Michael Page began shooting his way through a gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Oak Creek, a suburb of Milwaukee.

Police have yet to define a motive, but in the Sikh community, the fear is that they were targeted by someone who knew little about their beliefs.

Lehigh University English professor Amardeep Singh wrote on his blog this week that the turban amplifies the hostility felt by some.

"The turban that Sikh men wear is the embodiment of a kind of difference or otherness that can provoke some Americans to react quite viscerally," Singh wrote. "I increasingly feel that visible marks of religious difference are lightning rods for this hostility in ways that don't depend on accurate recognition.

"I am not sure why the reaction can be so visceral - perhaps because wearing a turban is at once so intimate and personal and so public? Walking around waving, say, an Iranian flag probably wouldn't provoke quite the same reaction. A flag is abstract - a turban, as something worn on the body, is much more concrete and it therefore poses a more palpable (more personal?) symbol for angry young men looking for someone to target. Whether or not that target was actually the "right one" was besides the point for the Oak Creek shooter."

Harkarit Soin says his family knew one of the victims well. Satwant Singh Kaleka, who served as president of the gurdwara, had presided over prayers and rituals at Soin's sister's wedding.

"Why are we being targeted?" Soin says. "Despite educating people, it seems nothing has changed since 9/11."

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As the community stands in solidarity after tragedy, Harkarit Soin says he is considering wrapping a turban again.

"I think this was my vanity," he says about cutting his hair. "I wanted to conform. But why should I be ashamed of whom I am? We are a hardworking community. And we have been through a lot."

Soin is proud to be an American, he says. Proud to be Sikh - and of an identity marked by a turban.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Race • Sikh

soundoff (814 Responses)
  1. xmxm

    Poop, Poop, the Piper's Poop.

    Hey Tom, that is a nicer name for you. It rhymes!

    August 9, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  2. Premal D.Shah

    I grew up in India in schools where there were Sikhs wearing turbans were my class-mates. I always knew Sikhs to be very polite and courteous to others. Even at the age of ten, I knew that the turban was most sacred to them. When I had fights with my Punjabi friends, they would not retaliate till once I pulled at my friends turban and that was it! My friend started crying and beating me up. From that day on, I realized that Sikhs are very quiet people but as far as the turban is concerned, I know that it is very sacred to them. To this day, I do not know why the turban of all things is so special to them. My best friend is a Sikh and yet, till today I don't know why he is so sensitive about his turban.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Why don't you ask him?

      August 9, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Sandy Garrett

      I think that like the crucifix symbolizes my faith...the turban symbolizes theirs plus it is a way to control their beautiful hair. I am appalled and sickened by the bigotry in this country. The ignorance behind it is frightening. My thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh community. God bless you!

      August 9, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  3. amaarjeet

    My youngest son was provoked several times & likened to terror by his class mate in school after Blue Star operation in India. As I was told, I got both sons hair cut so that young ones do not face challenging & embarrassing situation in learning place as kids are more reactive & sensitive at young age. I lost my hair from head to foot in 2009 in a span of 3 month with no other side effects & got investigated in India from Gland Specialist as well Dermatologist who could tell nothing after lab investigation as there was no other symptom. These are normal ways of life; you must change with place & time to be part of people where you live in India or abroad. My face & figure changed after 77 years of existence. God is great & His actions are greater. Even otherwise I had domestic problem of going out with cap & difficulty in tying turban with weakening of nerves of hands for beard dressing as well. Sikhs must change, religion is not in hair, it is in heritage of faith, customs & practices subject to changes in time. This great world is evolving & we must adapt to updated custom, behavior & culture that are dynamic not static.

    It is good proactive approach to existence. There is no harm in cut hair for safety & security in job when you are not known for your faith across the community. Moreover priests are illiterate & coward and avoid going across the community to educate & make aware others of their religion. I asked in a Gurudwara in USA to the Head Priest if he could speak in English & address the students in a high school where a Principal approached me but I had no transport & agreed if provided to & from ride. But Head Priest refused to do the job creating awareness of Sikh religion to others beyond Gurdwara walls. How such people get immigrated God knows. If they get opportunity, it is all the more essential & responsible act to learn English with any Adult Learning center free of costs. What Govt. can do more than free education of ESL?

    August 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Although I do not follow any religions or gods I can say that I really enjoyed your post. I wish you the best my friend.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Canadagoose

      That was a fantastic text!

      August 9, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • Tej

      I don't think you really understand Sikhism and the sacrifices made by our ancestors. You said, "Sikhs need to change, religion is not in hair"...when you give up one of the fundemental symbols (i.e. a cross to a christian) of your religion then soon what do you have. I have no problem that you cut your hair but please stop making broad sweeping statements that Sikhs need to cut their hair.

      August 9, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Simran

      Yes Amarjeet, Sikhs do change. Out of free will, as a process of adaptation, not intimidation.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Canada

      If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer them your left, for it is holier to humble then to gripe from misunderstanding and fools. Scoffers will not hear, even when plainly told.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  4. Sikh

    Sikhs Rock!!!

    August 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  5. Sunny

    So I see the typical ignorance of people in this column. Turbans are similar to cowboy hats, English hats, football helmets, biker helmets so if you say a Turban makes someone look like a body part, then you are saying the same about US Football players, US Biker Gangs and so on .... got a problem with hats? The reason Sikhs wear a Turban is two fold. One is that you believe that God is everywhere and in everyone and you cover your head in respect. Second, only Kings, Hindu high status citizens or Muslim religious leaders were allowed to wear such. It was banned otherwise. At the end of a struggle for equality, Sikhs said that we all are equal so we can wear crowns like the Kings or Turbans like the Maharajas, etc. There is just too many ignorant people out there or just simple minded trouble provokers interested in picking a fight. The comments here really acknowledge the complaints of people in Europe who complain at how stupid Americans are .....

    August 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      I would have to agree with you Sunny mainly on the dumb American perception.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Excuse me, stupid Americans...

      August 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • toolttime

      You mean American Extremists

      August 9, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  6. Reader

    Moni Basu,

    In case you stop in to see the comments on your article - it's a shame that they had to be overrun with flame wars from juveniles (of all ages).

    Thank you for writing it anyway. Some others may have wanted to comment, but decided not to... and I'm sure you know why.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Fvck you and everyone that looks like you, with or without turbans.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son"

      Nice job there TT, you just proved Reader's point. It is poster's like you that inhibit productive conversation. Can't you find something better to do with your time?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, this is good. They threw me off the bowling team, so I'm afraid this is it for me.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Predictably, this juvenile behavior was sparked by my sincere curiousity about an admittedly sensitive topic: the relationship between turbans and penises. Return tomorrow and maybe we can get into this when the tards have had their fun.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      We'll save you a beer, Susie.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  7. Independent & not brain washed

    Stupid is a trait that does discriminate but is in every culture.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I know what you mean. I insist on yogurt with active cultures (for personal reasons).

      August 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which reminds me, I need to stock up on Activia before I crap myself again.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Well, my task for the day is complete. I've irritated some dumb teenager or maladjusted twenty-something enough to absorb his interest in something other than p0rn.

    Success!!

    August 8, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nothing smells like victory.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmmm... the teens did show up sooner than I expected.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Piper

      Everyone – I apologize for my son's behavior.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Except my little shadow's anus.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's about the pig, isn't it?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oops! That wasn't...um, maybe some oral hygiene is needed...

      August 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Susie Rottenkrotch

      about the pig. now goddam, that's funny.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Just another guy

      Tom The Piper's Son – God forgive you for you know not what you are doing ! Get an education, drop your ignorance and lose your hatred and if you believe in Christianity even a wee bit, start by living out 'love all for God resides in all'. This is by the way the central teaching of both Christianity and Sikhism and probably also for a lot of other faiths. Non-religious also know the value of being nice to each other and loving everyone. Being able to have compassion for other humans is the mark of a good human being whether you follow Christ, Dalai Lama, Sikh Teachings or just your college buddy's phislosophy. Every other achievement is zero if you cannot teach yourself to love other human beings. And this is not religion. plain common practial sense.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  9. Louis

    Sikhs are Hindus with Muslim (Taliban) look.... they should not be trusted.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Deep

      No Louis,

      you are wrong, Sikhs are not Muslims, we are the ones that employ trash like you and I personally nailed your moms ass!

      August 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • vp

      What a moronic post.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      They didn't try to look Muslim; the turban is not worn by all Muslims the way it is for Sikhs. A lot of Muslims wear little caps, cut their hair, and dress in their country's clothing. It just happens that the turban is common in Afganistan, Pakistan, and India. Do people know that there were once a large number of Christians in Pakistan who were converted by the Apostle Thomas, and that there has been a continuous Christian community in parts of southern India? Most of the facts about religion are unknown in the U.S., and that's because the Supreme Court doesn't allow mention of religion. Ignorance is not bliss, but causes deadly misunderstanding.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • pepsee

      Let me teach you something Louis boy – Sikhs are among the most trustworthy human beings. Historically that's their reputation. I assume you never read Indian history. I did. Oh, by the way, if you are a racist white – they are your distant cousins – their ancestors where whites that immigrated to India a few thousands years ago. If things don't change here, a few generations from now your descendants will be treated like that by the newly arrived Europeans in America.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aww, look how testy the pepster gets when it's his sacred cow being gored!

      August 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't mind me, I'm just jealous. I haven't had a good goring for years.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Sikh

      Wo wo..hmm.Go and read about sikhs first..don't waste ur time here

      August 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    We are on to something here. Turbans do make men look like penises. Melanin is a player as well. Are you imagining, as I am, a sort of highly pigmented and errect penis, or prick, if you will? Now imagine nations of them.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Errrrect – let's get that burr in there.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You must be truly sore at me. What was it? Did I refute one of your points? Or make fun of your grammar? Or are you just tho thenthitive you can't handle a public forum?

      Poor thing.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • jeshua

      Couldnt disagree more. Put up your pic...im sure you look like a dick. imagine nations full of you.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • The Other Guy

      So you don't care for the 'Terms of Service' before posting your comments, do you?

      "You agree not to upload, post or otherwise transmit any User Content that is offensive to the online community, including blatant expressions of bigotry, racism, abusiveness, vulgarity or profanity."

      August 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • josh

      tom tom youre a patriot? really? youre a joke. go back to you're sister in the basement..

      August 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It would be cool if we could put up images. Maybe something with YouTube...

      August 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When you figure out how to use apostrophes, puppy, you can ask me. Until then, cry into your pillow.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • pepsee

      This Tom Tom fella is clearly an uneducated trailer trash. Now that is the junk everybody needs to abandon. He is beyond all white, red, blue, black, green races; he is the junk of the human race. With his pea size brain he doesn't deserve to live on earth – the Mars Rover should have carried him and left him there to rot.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • derf

      Tom Tom is a sister. In a convent, not a basement. Well, maybe a basement in a convent.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Umm, sweetie? You might want to look into whether anything "rots" in Mars' atmosphere.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's a basement alright. Holy hell, it's wet down here. Or is that me? Awwww. not again.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'd do well on Mars. I don't eat a lot, I can hold my breath for a long time, and I'll have lots of time to totally fvck it up for humanity before you can get here. When do I leave?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Piperhater

      You are really restarted and gotta find something better to do then pick on Sikhs who are hardworking citizens who never did anything wrong to anyone.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  11. Reason

    Sikhs don't believe in Jesus Christ, so they are worthless and will go to hell

    August 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • jeshua

      You are worthless and will go to the pub.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • pepsee

      Another uneducated trailer trash. Doesn't have the credential to live in America. Needs to be thrown out to outer space.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • HD3

      Who said Sikhs don't believe in Jesus Christ? They principally believe God is One, whatever or whoever you want to personalize Him as. As to Hell, it only exists to the extent we have to live with people like you on this Earth.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Simran

      Hey Reason, when you post this, just add PUN INTENDED!

      August 9, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  12. harinder

    Idiots like Tom Tom Pipers sons is one of the principles reasons why AMERICANS are disliked all over the world. The racists gene still lurks in people like Tom Tom

    August 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Says my little stalker.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Albeit poorly and ungrammatically.

      Too bad the little dear never passed freshman English.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I am a patriot.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • LinCA

      @harinder

      You said, "Idiots like Tom Tom Pipers sons is one of the principles reasons why AMERICANS are disliked all over the world. The racists gene still lurks in people like Tom Tom"
      Actually, fundamentalist christians have done far more damage to the image of the US abroad than any atheist. It is morons like Cathy, the KKK, republicans and badly dressed tourists that ruined it.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Piper

      Tom,Tom... It's your Dad. Go to bed. NOW!

      August 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, really? Odd. My dad died ten years ago.

      Therefore, you are a liar.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There is a chapter in one of John Irving's books – Is there a gene for it, whatever it is? Like most things unsavory about people, racism is not encoded genes. It is learned or invented Harinder.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • JackSpears

      Harinder, I don't even think this guy is even an American. Believe me, most of us are sensible.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • pepsee

      Tom Tom, that's how your racist parents taught you, huh? If not, you must have inherited it thru bad genes.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aww, you guys are so cute. I'd like to pat your little heads, empty as they are.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • DesiBoyz

      You can pat our heads as soon as I track down your IP. Give me a sec.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, you do that, sweet cheeks. I'll be waiting for an e-mail.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Ben

      Tom tom – "patriots" like you should be deported to mars. that'll make our country a safer more inclusive place. you're in a minute minority that give the rest of us a bad name.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do tell. Let me know when you testify before the SCOTUS, and I'll tremble.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Trembling always helps when I'm using my 'do, you know.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  13. Peikovianyii

    Tom Paine (atheist), Ben Franklin (agnostic), Washington and Jefferson (deists) John Adams (Christian) agreed the US govt would be secular and would protect freedom of religion. "... and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own... they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." – Thomas Jefferson, September 23, 1800.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  14. iluv_USA

    USA is a great country & we Sikhs love this country. Sikhs need to play their role in removing Ignorance prevailing amongst many racist or militant groups by reaching out to militant groups, connecting with them & informing them – that i) We are NOT Muslims. We were born out of Hinduism as a part of anti-fanatic Muslim movement in India 5 centuries ago. ii) Killing any human is wrong – whether Muslim or Sikh or of any other faith.

    Daily prayer of Sikhs calls for “good, well-being, benefit, welfare, benevolence for EVERYONE i.e. all humans, animals, birds, nature etc. We believe in community service. Many Sikhs wear turban & have beard. This Sikh turban is NOT Taliban or Muslim turban. Sikhs served in World Wars I & II. Just like other American people, Sikhs have suffered at the hands of fanatic Muslims; from 15th century till now. Hindus have suffered at the hands of fanatic Muslims since the last 11 centuries. It is real tragic that we Sikhs are misunderstood & mistaken as Muslims. Sikhs have no enmity with mainstream peaceful Muslims or any other religion.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Hamdi

      So what you're saying is that White people should hate Muslims instead of Sikhs? Isn't the point of this debate that nobody should be targeted because of their religion? How can you expect people not to be prejudiced against you when you practice the same prejudice against others?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • A Hindu

      Prejudice in Islam is straight from the book. The book preaches the superiority of the 'believers' and relegates all Kaffirs to the status of animals, sub-human.

      Talking about hate and prejudice, Muslims in general have a lot more to answer. A glance at a Pakistani newspaper will tell you the glaring persecution non-muslims suffer in a muslim majority country.

      Nuff said!

      August 9, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • sherri

      @hindu,
      about Islam not treating muslims and non muslims equally,
      hinduism has cast system in which their own hindus belonging to lower cast wern't even allowed in temples and were persecuted if they would listen to the holy verses. and they are still pretty much untouchables. their wives were burnt when their husbands died and female feoticide is something which is way too common in todays "modern India"
      must be feeling very proud of being a hindu right?
      When muslims ruled over India, It was considered the golden age, I have read my history books and I know how cruel your own faith's cast system is and I don't think you can ever deny it.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • iluv_humanity

      @hindu,
      about Islam not treating muslims and non muslims equally,
      hinduism has cast system in which their own hindus belonging to lower cast wern't even allowed in temples and were persecuted if they would listen to the holy verses. and they are still pretty much untouchables. their wives were burnt when their husbands died and female feoticide is something which is way too common in todays "modern India"
      must be feeling very proud of being a hindu right?
      When muslims ruled over India, It was considered the golden age, I have read my history books and I know how cruel your own faith's cast system is and I don't think you can ever deny it.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Simran

      To ILuv USA and Hindu,
      Please fellows, stop with the Hindu/Sikh- Muslim hatred sentiments and just again showing how bigoted our whole thinking has become. Playing a blame game will only impede your own moral progress. No religion is superior or inferior. Religion is a way to our own spiritual salvation, it should not become a way to rule our neighbour. Flaws exist everywhere.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      iluv, it's "caste". Not "cast". I don't think you know much about it at all.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  15. theala

    There is no harm in wearing a turban.

    My religious beliefs are not threatened by the customs of others. Quite the contrary. I would encourage both Sikh's and Muslims to dress according to the dictates of their consciences, faith, and comfort level. I think the mix of styles, customs, beliefs, and faiths is what makes America a great and cool place to live, save for the narrow mindedness and ignorance of a few.

    August 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I was wondering. Is the turban compensation for lack of a foreskin or is the wearing of it done in lieu of circumcision? You know it makes a man look like a penis.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Since no one with eyes or any s3xual experience outside of ma-st-urbation thinks a turban makes a man look like a penis, honey, you're really not terribly effective in this role.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • cthefacts

      Morons are still not getting it. Its not about the turban, its about the race hatred in the United States. You think they were killed because they wore turban. Wrong! they were killed because they had enough melanin to get hated by the whites. I can't believe that world is still think that it is their turban who got them killed.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This could be true of Jews as well. The yarmulke thing, you know. We are on to something. Shakespeare will have to wait.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "onto", ya moron. You'll have to do better than that. Shame on you.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      All right, idiot. Why, then, has it not been shown that time spent in tanning salons does not correlate with increased risk of death by violence?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Babies must play.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • pepsee

      Tom Tom, you are nothing but a dumb-assssssssssss. I am just amazed by the sheer number of stupid people that live in this country.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Grammar Nazi

      "Onto" would suggest that Tom had hopped up onto something. I'll go with "on to".

      August 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure you're amazed by your own navel and shoelaces, too.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope, Nazi. You lose.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • pepsee

      hey Tom Tom, what about the penguin dress Catholic nuns wear all the time? I hope you don't think that's to hide similar things you say the turban hides. Do you?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Did I say the turban hides anything?

      No. I did not.

      Troll harder, honey. You're not winning the gold here.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wear adult diapers at night, and they look a little like a turban wrapped around my ass.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I put them onto my ass every night. I step into them, then they go onto my humongous backside. Am I using the right word now, Nazi?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, never mind. You wouldn't know anyway, being an idiot.

      How sad you were born without balls.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What I don't have in balls I make up for with boobs that hang down to my knees.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  16. TheVocalAtheist

    Freedom, that's what it's all about. But is freedom to be practiced in public?

    August 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • kaur

      Don't you have the freedom to write what you are writing on a 'public' blog, should we take that away from you? So that you write what you want to write in your private diary!!What you do in a closed room, is what you call freedom!

      August 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • theala

      Absolutely freedom is to be practiced in public! Otherwise, the person is not free.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • LinCA

      @TheVocalAtheist

      You said, "Freedom, that's what it's all about. But is freedom to be practiced in public?"
      Would you call it "freedom" if you couldn't practice it in public?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Unless it poses a threat to others or violates their rights under the law, people are free to practice what they believe in public.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      'Unless it poses a threat to others or violates their rights under the law,..."

      That's what I wanted to hear, thank you!

      August 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And why did you want to hear that?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      VA, are you attempting to insinuate that wearing a turban in public endangers others? Violates their rights?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • LinCA

      @TheVocalAtheist

      You said, "'Unless it poses a threat to others or violates their rights under the law,..."
      That's what I wanted to hear, thank you!
      "
      Even in the privacy of your home you don't have the freedom to activities that pose a threat to others or violates their rights.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Lin. How are you? Hope all is well.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "VA, are you attempting to insinuate that wearing a turban in public endangers others? Violates their rights?"

      Absolutely not. I like to see responses and perceptions of what freedom is.

      "Even in the privacy of your home"

      I do not equate the public to be in the privacy of my home even though you do have a point.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's late. Do you have a point, or should i just write you off as another moron?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You said, "Hey, Lin. How are you? Hope all is well."
      I'm doing great. Hanging out here (again). Seeing if I can rile up a believer, or two. How are you doing?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I guess people with two brain cells to rub together really don't want to talk to me.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Better luck next time, my little troll

      August 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Actually, I was right the first time.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Great, Lin. How do you like my little daemon? Isn't he cute?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You can write me off, you can tell me to jump off a bridge, I could care less.

      My point? Freedom and the perception thereof. Freedom, is it in the mind of the beholder or can it be logically identified? A large amount of people have varying degrees of the concept of freedom and it interests me in perusing the responses. Will I go to a bad place for asking? Excuse me!

      August 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If I talk to myself enough I sound just like him. It's the voices again, you know. They're wearing me down.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's a "large number of people", you fvcktard. Not a "large amount of people". Is English not your native language?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TVA,

      Thomas Jefferson and Dick Cheney have very different views on personal liberty. (I would have said G.W.Bush, but we all know who ran that show.)

      So where do you stand?

      Freedom isn't free?
      Freedom's just another word for nuthin' left to loose?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • pepsee

      This Tom Tom fella is clearly an uneducated trailer trash. Now that is the junk everybody needs to abandon. He is beyond all white, red, blue, black, green races; he is the junk of the human race. Lets not waste another minute for this trash can.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Fvch you, pepsee. You're the trash.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "let's", darling. Try to get it right. I know it's difficult, since you are impaired in numerous ways, but do try.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      " Is English not your native language?"

      Coming up with a word such as fvctard is a great example of English, wouldn't you say? And not very original.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's my job to take care of the trash. You can call me garbagegirl from now on.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "An uneducated trailer trash"? Are you from the Baltic states, dear?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Clearly "fvctard" was sufficiently insulting for you to take notice of it.

      Score a point for TTTPS.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "Clearly "fvctard" was sufficiently insulting for you to take notice of it. "

      Now there's some logic for you! Sufficiently insulting? Are you assuming I was insulted? Sorry you fail.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gee, Vocalist, it was clear enough for even a moron like you to decipher.

      Objective met.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TVA,

      you were all hot to learn about 'freedom' but you can't stop responding to critiques of your grammar.

      Where do you stand on personal liberty?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "you were all hot to learn about 'freedom' but you can't stop responding to critiques of your grammar."

      I was hot to learn about freedom? Hmm... And I can't stop responding to critiques of my grammar? Hmm...

      I believe you are mistaken on both statements. I was not "hot" and it appears that this Tom Tom character is the one hung up to the point of obsessiveness on grammar. He/she pointed out my grammar and I merely pointed out her lack of originality by using the term fvctard which in turn you thought it was insulting enough to get my attention.
      I am so relieved that I can come here and be surrounded by such ingenious and thought provoking individuals. You have it down to a science, do you? I think not.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      Gee, Vocalist, it was clear enough for even a moron like you to decipher.
      Objective met."

      Just what is your objective? ADHD much?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  17. kaur

    Hey, I was going through david c and jeffison's comments , I wanted to put up a general post than replying specifically. jeffison,jumping to conclusions without full knowledge and depth of understanding is the reason which gives rise to conflicts rather than putting the blame on physical appearances
    Why don't you go ahead and check out the link http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Turban so that you are more able to see through the cloth into the lives of these beautiful people who in their daily prayer ask for 'sarbat da bhala' which implies God bless the whole world, the entire humanity , unlike Just "god bless America' at the end of a speech here; why not God Bless the whole world , and thats what we ask for!
    Their 9th Guru "Guru Teg Bahadur was undisputedly the first martyr for human rights. His martyrdom was unparalleled in world history as never before somebody had laid down his life to defend the right of followers of another faith to practice their faith. http://www.reeditor.com/columna/4498/16/historia/the/first/human/rights/martyr

    If it wasn't for the Sikhs the diversity that one sees in Asia would not be there . The Muslim Rulers wanted to convert everyone into followers of Islam by force . The Sikh Gurus ,followed by innumerable sikhs laid down their lives for the right of others to live freely and practice their faith without persecution. Neverthless , Sikhs always saw the presence of that one divine light in all , be it a Muslim or a hindu or anyone ; They only opposed tyranny, not faiths,nor people!
    Their scripture is the only scripture in the world which gives place to compositions of people of different faiths without prejudice.
    The tradition of Red cross was first started by Bhai kanhaiya, a sikh , much before henry dunant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhai_Kanhaiya ....these are just a few facts , there are so many more.....beautiful ones, either spend time researching about someone's faith or don't be judgemental

    August 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  18. Caihlyn

    Again...comment writing Americans prove they are too uneducated, too ignorant and too narrow minded to accept differences in their fellow human beings. Humans, as a species, have around 0.1% variation in their genes, yet we judge each other to be oh so different based on such superficial aspects such as skin color and clothing. All that matters is character. If a person of any background is a good hearted person, so be it, accept them. If a person is harsh and hateful disregard them.

    Humans want to feel connected to those who are special to them, family, community, etc. Think back to your teen years. All of the other teens were wearing Calvin Klein jeans, so you begged your parents to buy you the expensive CK jeans. Why? Because you wanted to identify with the popular teens. You wanted to fit in with the in crowd. You wanted to show them you shared the same values they did and therefore you would identify as one of them. When you wore those jeans, you felt cool, you knew that you belonged and that the other teens would be your friends. The jeans weren't "magical", the wearing of the jeans had a psychological effect on you. You walked a bit taller, showed a bit more confidence and were accepted in the popular teen community. It is not the item of clothing, it is how you feel and act and express yourself knowing that you wear it.

    August 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Would you like to go to work everyday and be surrounded by individuals that are wearing all kinds of religious garbs? Placing plastic jesus's on their desks and playing religious music in the canteen?

      August 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TVA,

      I have a colleague who wears a Jesus fish and a cross on a gold chain. They get tangled up together. I respect her right to wear this.

      Workplace rules are tricky but a modest display of personal devotional items is reasonable. Not so much Christian music in the cafeteria, unless you work in a Christian book store or church office.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  19. Resident Alien

    Gosh! How can you never trim your hair and let it grow forever? It sounds kind of creepy.

    August 8, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • kaur

      We believe that Whatever God makes , he makes it perfectly 🙂 Its natural not creepy for the hair to grow , that's why they keep growing, right...their roots are alive not dead. We believe in following the will of God. Please check this link http://www.sikhnet.com/oldsikhnet/SikhEducation/5K's.pdf

      August 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Resident Alien

      Do you also grow your pubes, nails and armpit hair forever?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      RA, are you male? If so, what sort of metros3xual are you that shaves his pits and gets his pubes waxed?

      August 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which reminds me. It's time for my husband's Brazilian.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  20. Paul

    Had I born in a family , I would have also worn a turban. However, people should think out of box and weigh in the need for growing hair and have turbans. I believe it is unnecessary . Many children think different from their parents and family nowadays.

    August 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • pepsee

      Sure people should be able to wear whatever they want to (while abiding by law.) But at the same time one should question her/his religion and find out if it really makes sense to continue a tradition that is hundreds/ thousands of years old. What worked at that time probably doesn't work or is not necessary now. It is strange that many intelligent people also turn off their "thinking" sense while blindly following religious tradition.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How the fvck would you know what intelligent people do?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      when I don't even know what intelligent people do?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.