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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.

Opinion: White power music

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. Runner

    I am a white female of European (irish, welsh, scotch, german, polish, hungarian, name a nation...) I am chubby and routinely wear girdle-like stuff. I am inevitably search every time I get near an airport. My brown hair/eyes/olive complexion seem to off Homeland Secuirty. And I'm chubby....so I wear restrictive undergarments...so I am almost always inevitably frisked...

    August 9, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  2. Sam M

    Who is willing to bet the shooter, like most racists, was a republican?

    August 9, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      And?

      August 9, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Popuppete

      Well there are only two parties so I would say 50%. Though he seems like a huge jerk so there is a good chance he doesn't like Democrats OR Republicans.

      August 9, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  3. Hu Phart Ngau

    He should set aside the feeling of shame, because he abandoned some hair; not his faith. One can conform socially, and grow, or hang on to ancient symbolisms, and struggle with the abundance of the intellectually challenged.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • barbara

      I agree! Shedding the outward trappings, symbols of your religion, do not change your relationship and devotion to God. But it's more than that. Many young people don't see the necessity of retaining these outward signs of their religion. They want to assimilate and at the same time retain the inner values.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  4. LlamaLlamaDuck

    Just a question. The article also mentioned a metal wristband and a sword, in addition to turbans, as a visible sign of the Sikh faith. I'm fairly certain Sikh's aren't legally allowed to carry swords around with them wherever they go. Sure, the businessman might get singled out in the airport security line for further inspection because of his turban...but they definitely aren't letting someone with a sword on board. So if the Sikhs have let go of the sword tradition over the years to make way for the modern world...why not the long hair/turban thing? True, the change is being driven by the bigotry that came out of an act of terrorism that they're being mistaken for and not the forward progress of society...but still, the times are changin'. Perhaps time to change to another outward expression of your faith that doesn't endanger your family and sets you apart from the hatred and violence associated with modern terrorism?

    August 9, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      They shouldn't be forced to diminish their religious practice due to other people's retardedness.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • BOBBY

      True and sensible....the deeper question is why human beings find all these fashion and body modification requirements to be necessary to "show faith" ....they are simply conforming to rules set up by a bunch of men who are exerting control over their behavior and actions and life to maintain that control....taking away the freedom to choose what one wears with the ever looming threat of religious transgression and punishment by the ultimate power...God....it is disgusting.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you want to know, Bobby, then why don't you ASK one of them? In person, not here.

      I doubt you really care to know why. You simply want to be able to blabber your complaints anonymously.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      To Llama: why do men in the business world wear ties? Why do women wear hosiery? Why aren't people all dressed in shorts and t-shirts or tube tops at the office? Why don't we walk around naked all the time?

      There are all kinds of social conventions that determine what is appropriate for people to wear and they have little to do with the original purpose of clothing. It doesn't matter if you don't understand why someone wears what he/she does. If you really cared, you'd learn the reasons and accept that while they may seem strange to you, you look just as weird to others.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • BOBBY

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's So....I don't get why what I sad is so hard to understand....I guess that's why so many people in hundreds of religions just do what they are told by their religious leaders.

      August 9, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't get why you don't understand. Or even make an effort to do so.

      Again, if you don't know why someone follows certain customs, ask. Or would you prefer to remain ignorant?

      For the record, I am not religious in the slightest, but I have no problem with those who are unless they infringe on my rights under law. There is no requirement that people dress like you. And it's no less ridiculous for you to demand they do than it is for their religious beliefs to dictate their clothing or hairstyle. Who made you the image of normality?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      People use all kinds of body modifications and clothing to symbolize all sorts of things. Why do you find it so mystifying? Tattoos, face paint, sports jerseys, name-brand logos...none of them are anything but costumes that reflect the person's 'beliefs' or values. What's the big hairy deal?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • EverydayRunner

      Sikhs are well aware and educated enough to understand that in modern times, their is no need to carry the sword with them. Thus, no Sikh would carry a sword to airports or another place where they might have to explain it's religious importance. Only the older generation of Sikhs these days carry a blunt version of the sword, which actually is a small blunt knife these days, and those Sikhs, too, would pack it up in their boarded luggage when traveling by air.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  5. anon

    With the recent temple attack, and various attacks on them since 9/11, I think it's obvious what the problem is. They are being confused and lumped together with Muslims. Muslims, of course, for various reasons, are being lumped all together with radical terrorists.

    Therefore, in the minds of many, sikh = terrorist. Quite a leap.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • EverydayRunner

      No, they are not being confused with Muslims at all. This was not an attack on Muslims, but a white supremacist's attack on minorities. There is "SIKH TEMPLE" written in clear capital, bold letters at the entrance to that place of worship. If this man was actually on a killing spree to take some Muslim lives, he would have done his homework in the 11 years post 9/11 to understand that "SIKH TEMPLE" is not where Muslims worship.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  6. Angel

    WHO ARE CITIZENS IN AMERICA THEY ARE NOT TRUE AMERICANS..IN SOMANY YEARS BACK THEY illegally CAME AND KILLED SOMANY RED AMERICANS. THEY settled here .WE DIDN'T DO LIKE THAT.we came here legally.
    WE ARE DOING THINGS LEGALLY.WE ARE PAYING TAXES.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • jennyct

      What are you talking about? The fact that he is first or second generation? Who said he was here illegally or did not pay taxes?

      August 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • BOBBY

      you are stupid

      August 9, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  7. Dhillon

    I START THIS POST NOT GET ANY SYMPATHY FROM YOU GUYS. I though of putting it together to remove some ignorance in you.

    Go check these links and that will open up your mind. Education enlightens once mind which seems missing in some the individuals posts. World has changed and is changing fast. Open up your mind and outlook towards others so that you don't repent when it time for you get help from others...

    Sikh community has numerous sacrifices for shaping up present India, World war 1 and 2. They left their country and fought along side NATSIs on 3 continents to make this world better...

    Must view these Videos :
    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_779991&src_vid=uCYHvVFw1J0&v=1XIZDj9hiWc
    2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIqlJ9UeRKw
    3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQVZSAVoiqM
    4)

    BECOME A BETTER INDIVIDUAL BEFORE YOU COMMENT/BLAME SOMEBODY....!

    Please don't spread hate that never pays. Although sikhs are less than 2% of Indian population. They are spread all over the world (not just in USA) and they are doing very well and also serving in military in numerous countries with their Turbans (which they have done for so many long years including World wars). Bro, Check this out.

    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwEHrIOwkKE&feature=related
    2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyVkTxUyFP4&feature=related
    3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNHlxjXCt5c

    August 9, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  8. Roger

    I read every single comment on this article and found that I could have replied to many of them. I am not an "ideological" believer of any religion. I am an immigrant to this country as well and am familiar with the trials and tribulations of being so. Today after many years I consider myself more American than my birthplace nation (although there are things and values that are of good that I still hold)
    For me, all is very simple. I do not believe in Loving anyone, but I do believe in ACCEPTING and i do not need any type of religious teaching to tell me the difference between "Good and Bad", "Right & Wrong."
    When I read some of these comments and FEEL the hatred and through the lack of acceptance and all the name calling it makes me realize how much fear about many individual things going on in our particular lives, that many of us do not want to accept and change (about ourselves) and instead we look to blame someone else for his or her looks, beliefs, etc, and think that by the actions (verbally and physically) that some may take, everything is going to be "good" for us!
    Folks, Life is extremely simple, "live and let live" believe in whatever you wish to believe, but NO ONE has the right to act viciously upon any other human being FOR ANY REASON whatsoever!
    Humans come from HUMANITY!
    This in my humble opinion is what each individual needs to be!
    Stop the madness of comparing and be much more accepting of others, and once you do this, you will find that all of a sudden your life is much more PEACEFUL!! and with a lot less HATRED that is carried within!!!
    B-Safe, B-Well & PEACE to all!!!

    August 9, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • MLHThinking

      Thank you and well said.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  9. iluv_USA

    Your using the "F" word shows how stupid and nasty you are. You are just provoking other people.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    I condemn all religious fanaticism and bigotry. Let us love the Sikhs and people of all other beliefs, even if we cannot accept their beliefs as truth or legitimate religion. Religious freedom must include the possibilty to have another opionion regarding the faith, and what is wrong about that as long as someone doesn't apply violence, in order to destroy a distinct faith?

    However, when we lump together all religions we even promote fanaticism and bigotry.

    I myself am neither bigoted nor fanatic, and would never harm someone who has got a distinct belief.

    Yet even me, I could upset when the media and the governments try to establish a moderate, modified, Western Islam (they may even modify other beliefs) which has nothing to do with the genuine Islam, that is simply a work of lie.

    Strict Muslims or strict believers of any sect or cult will feel to be taken for id-iots, if they realize that the Western establishments tries to establish modifications of their original beliefs. That will increase their anger and hatred, and exactly the opposite will happen of what the Western establishment intented (breeding handy human robots for their factories with standard faith).

    I have a better solution:

    Let us admit at last that Christianity is the the faith which is most historical trustworthy, has the best content, delivers real health for the human being, is not bigotted or fanatic.

    Of course, even the Protestant Churches, which are to favour regarding the good Christian doctrine which they have, are not perfect at all, but some wolves in sheep's clothing are also there, and pursue their own selfish purposes. Even some Protestant Churches or their leaders may be greedy for honor, power and riches, and aspire for temporal rule and impact.

    Therefore it is good when a state promotes religious freedom, and rewards only real, practical virtue and righteousness, independent from the creed. When the state keeps neutral it prevents the emergence of a church which seeks for temporal rule.

    It is only that the state should not say that it would not matter what exactly someone beliefs, or that all beliefs will finally lead to eternal life. It is a crime to lump together all beliefs. It is a matter of fact that Christianity is the most favorable faith according to its historicity, good content regarding the doctrine, being non-fanatic, but constructive. Frederic the Great, King of Pruzzia, proclaimed that no other faith is more useful for the society than the Protestant faith, only let us beware, he said, of wolves in sheep's clothing (selfish preachers or clergy) which even affect the Protestant Churches, and cause misfortune.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Sam M

      Dude you just called their religion a lie and illegitimate. Your first sentences reveal your bigotry.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Rainer: You say you are not bigoted but yet you use your belief to justify hating people who are gay...now you just sound like a liar. Any time your own absurd belief impedes on the basic equal rights of others, there is an issue. If you're happy believing so be it but do not disrespect other peoples belief's if you want your own respected-you have no way of knowing any more than they do if you have the correct god if said god exists at all (presently no evidence to back any of you).

      August 9, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Reality

      Did anybody see Jesus talking to God? How do you know there is heaven and he'll. You have been lied to. If there is God then we all are his children not just Jesus. God doesn't need Jesus to tell him who is good or bad...The concept of Jesus is copied from Pagan. Watch or read Pagan Christ.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    "Government insider Says george W. Bush Authorized the 9/11 Attacks"

    Stanley Hilton was a senior adviser to Republican Senator Bob Dole and he has represented hundreds of families of 9/11 victims in a class action law suit against the Bush administration for treason and mass murder.

    Google http://www.rense.com/general57/aale.htm for full details.

    Now GWB is on the campaign trail once more, grooming Mitt Romney to continue his catastrophic domestic and foreign policies. Better know your republican candidates well before you lend them your support and cast your vote.

    August 9, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • ziggy2

      Ah, America, the land of the free and brave! I'm amazed at the conspiracies that flourish – the 9/11 one OFFENDS MIGHTILY

      August 9, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • ziggy2

      Oops, that should read 'conspiracy theories' 😦

      August 9, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Larry P

      There is a leak in your tin foil hat.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  12. JohnnyZ

    Society demands a dress code. The variations of acceptable attire are endless, but the infractions of the code invite scrutiny. Dress like a biker and some will respect you. Others will distrust you. Dress like a businessman, nun, cowboy, automotive tech, baker, hippy, and the same will apply.

    Wear a turban in the US and the scales of acceptance and respect go down the tubes. Yes it is ignorance, but no less ignorant than seeing a woman's breast and yelling "obscene."

    August 9, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Except breasts are nice.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • anon

      So true, on the breast argument. ESPECIALLY when the woman is feeding a baby.

      We are unusual for a 1st world country in that we are unusually conservative for a 1st world country. I think that our conservatism has been our greatest strength in the world, but it has also been, in some ways, a thorn in the flesh. The breastfeeding argument is a perfect example of that.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Social conservatism has held this country back since its inception.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Ash

      Nun alright? how about a Hindu nandini? or a Sufi lady? ahem....
      While I agree with you on all other counts, if you meant serenity and divine when you said nun, that is fine. But if the other two in my list not okay with you, then you are implying Christianity is okay...

      But overall you make sense. Why immigrate to US if you cannot conform?

      August 9, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Reality

      Wearing a turban is as normal as cutting hair. One of the reason grown up man shave facial hair and cut hair is to stay adolescent and child like, not full grown male, which society finds very threatening.

      India is home to more than billion humanity most Indian men, Hindu and Sikhs wear turban in some shape or form..many wear during ceremonies, in state of Rajasthan primarily a Hindu state every male wears turban. turban is part and parcel of Indian dress code and civilization.

      Europeans did not give up their culture when they immigrated to USA..Indian Sikhs, who belong to the oldest civilization are not going to give up either

      August 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  13. ROMNEY 2012

    looks like god fearin' Commie Muslims!

    OBAMA LET THESE MONSTERS INTO OUR COUNTRY, TIME TO SEND THE COMMIES HOME

    August 9, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Obama didn't let these people in to your country you uneducated moron!!! Immigration has existed longer than your president!!! You're an idiot!

      August 9, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • John

      Dude, Romney's OK... Obama Sux.... and you're just plain stupid.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • BOBBY

      Obamas bigger problem is not that he "let these commies inn" ...its that he lets people like you stay......get outta my country you treasonous pig.....you ain't an American....period.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Vik

      You are as ignorant as person can be. We are not talking about your neighbors who jumped the border, produced babies, and now they are crying for amnesty and saying that it is their right to live in the US. These folks entered the borders legally and pay taxes as well just like other people do. And for your kind information, go and do some digging and you will find out that your ancestors came to this country without any visa or anything. They just got off the ship and stayed back here. That is why you were a citizen here, otherwise you would have been somewhere else. This is shear ignorance....

      August 9, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • myopinion

      Shows the amazing intolerance and ignorance of the Romney supporters..what r the odds that the shooter was a republican as well...

      August 9, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • iluv_USA

      Time for God Almighty to put brains in morons like you who do not know that Sikhs have nothing to do with Muslims.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Huebert

      You must be a troll.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Reality

      Which country you are talking about? The one you stole from native Indians.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  14. BOBBY

    If a person wears certain clothes, covers certain parts of their body, or gets a certain haircut for a religion they are an stupid, obsequious !d!0t.....period

    August 9, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Marc B

      Do I need to pay a toll to cross your bridge?

      August 9, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • John

      Yes and you're a filthy turd Bobby.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • BOBBY

      Marc B....whats that supposed to mean....the point is your hat....your hair...or whatever has nothing to do with any god....its !d!0tic.....it makes no sense.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • JustMe

      Omg, I know what you mean. I live in fear of my Amish neighbors.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • John

      He's calling you a troll Bobbalou! Troll supreme.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Frank

      I'm an orthodox Jew who wear's a yarmulkas. Many religions require specific articles of clothing as an expression of their faith. In any event the white nationalist shooter targeted the Sikh temple, in all likelihood because most of the members were Indian and not because of their specific religios orientation.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • BOBBY

      @ JustMe......it has nothing to do with "fear"......when smart people make stupid decisions....like wearing a hajib for god or a black coat and hat like a hasidic jew....it just destroys my faith in humanity.....makes no sense at all.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • BOBBY

      @ Frank....this has nothing to do with the shooter......men made up these thousands of rules...most of which are to cover up women's bodies....to control peoples behavior and to show strength in numbers...it is and always will be about control and power and the use of religion to support it....not god.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Katie

      Bobby, it's none of your business what I wear or what my religion is. If I want to wear a cross or cover parts of my body so creeps like you can't see me, that is my business. You sound like some kind of pervert. You are the one making no sense and you can't tell anyone else what to do. Crawl back under your rock please. America is still a free country.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Bobby: As much as I agree with you, sometimes it doesn't seem to matter how often you point out what is extremely obvious to your or I, some people will never open their mind to it sadly. You'd be better off walking outside and having a conversation with your neighborhood ferrel cat...the response and comprehension is about the same.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Katie: He's not telling you not to cover your body. He's pointing out the obvious issues with doing so. Covering ones body only comes with a belief in the unknown, not in anything else. You would not cover your body if not for your absurd belief in fairy tales.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • BOBBY

      @TruthPrevails.....ya I get it....you can never debate with a drunk person.....that goes for being drunk with religious dogma as well as booz....they need to Google "obsequious" that's for sure.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • BOBBY

      FYI.....The word “obsequious” is used to describe someone who is almost pathetically eager to follow, obey, and serve.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There are plenty of things people do that don't "make sense" to others and they have nothing to do with religion. There are people who blast music through the open windows of their cars. There are people who wear pants that expose their butt cracks. There are people who spend hours watching reality TV.

      If it's not affecting you, Bobby and Truth, then why don't you mind your own business?

      When someone's religious beliefs require behavior that infringes on my rights, I object. As for what people choose to wear according to the requirements of their religion, I can't see any problem with it unless it interferes with some aspect of my life or that of others.

      If it bothers YOU so much, then here's an easy solution: DON'T LOOK.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • EverydayRunner

      Shall the Sikhs become "obsequious" to you now, and start dressing up like you and having a hair-cut that you will approve of? You !d!0t.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  15. FutureWizard

    Sorry – No Turban, no Sikh.

    You can not be true Sikh, if you don't have Turban. I understand dilemma faced by many youth and choices they make and I'm respect their choice.

    Note: I'm not a Sikh, live in America and deeply believe in non violent form of Sikhism.

    August 9, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • fred

      Who cares what kind of hat you wear? It doesn't define the person.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Huebert

      I wondered how long it would take to get to the "No true Scotsman fallacy".

      August 9, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    At school I have never been told that I have to distinguish between a person himself or herself and his or her faith. As long as people don't know about that distinction, they will commit evil deads of bigotry and fanaticism.

    I have never been told at school that man has a human dignity which one has to respect at any rate, despite a distinct faith.

    Certainly, Christianity is a very advanced faith. However, if we are really Christians, we will never harm or kill our neighbour because of his distinct faith.

    When we love our neighbour independent from his faith (or colour, nationality, social status, etc.), we preach the gospel without words and most effective, whereby it is God's work to cause the real faith in someone. Our responsibility is it to love everybody as long as we are together on earth. We are not allowed to condition our love on the conversion of our neighbour. Also we should not try to convert someone by our love. We should love someone, simply because of his human dignity. Yet, our love is limited in that sense, that we will never lump together all beliefs, and say it would not matter what exactly someone believes. There is only one real, true faith which causes deliverance.

    What manifests the human dignity?

    Jesus Christ, God, the Son, has died for the whole mankind. He died for us, although we are sinners. That shows, how much he and God, the Father, loves us. God, the Father, gave his beloved Son for us.

    No Christian has a reason to be proud, because his sinful body remembers him of his past daily. It is only Jesus through the Holy Spirit who helps me to do works of righteousness and love. I am sinful in myself. Without Jesus I am a sinful, dead body.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    August 9, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  17. Canadagoose

    As someone else said here earlier, you don't need a sign of a religion to have a religion. You know in your heart what your religion is, and if your safety is in jeopardy, conform to your surroundings. Like in this case, if you live as a Sikh in the US and there are prejudiced people around you, maybe it is good to think if cutting the hair and getting rid of the turban might be something to consider...

    I know in my heart what I believe in, but I don't carry signs of it. I know what I am, and I don't need tangible stuff to remind me of it 🙂

    August 9, 2012 at 5:47 am |
    • Delbre

      Are you willing to die for what you believe in or will you change your mind if faced with death because of your beliefs?
      Sikh dress code is for people who will not change their beliefs based on what other may do to them. You need to study the Sikh religion in detail before making comments

      August 9, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  18. Enoch

    The world of the white man consists of those things that are only visible. People of the Islamic faith have nothing of their own: they copy everything from the Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhas, yet they are the first to show what they have stolen, they are the most aggressive and the loudest ones. And the stupid white man who thinks he knows everything, was not capable of identifying his enemies, even in his own backyard.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:34 am |
    • Omar

      Enoch you are an idiot. "Islamic faith have nothing of their own?" That's because you have read the white man's history books. You think the renaissance was sparked by a bunch of white Europeans who just figured crap out. News flash, you bigot, they were inspired by texts from the Islamic world; 1000 years of European darkness were removed because of Islam and Muslims. Read a history book before opening your stupid mouth. As for your last comment about "not capable of identifying his enemies," I bet you would be very happy if it was a mosque and Muslims were killed. You sir are what make America vile.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • Bob

      Religion is a sign of weakness and stupidity. All this crap is made up, doesn't matter what faith you follow it's BS.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Marc B

      @ Omar,.......what?

      August 9, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Samson

      Omar, Omar...the Islamic world has contributed nothing, absolutely nothing, to the world, but hatred and murder. You got paper from china, algebra from India, even your evil faith Islam from Abyssinia. Your twisted childish books tell that.

      August 9, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  19. JR

    I've read that the long hair and beard are worn because to shave is trying to look younger that you really are. For me, because everyone I grew up with was clean shaven, when I see someone that is not in the 70s +, that is not clean shaven, they are usually young fellows trying to look older and wiser, or they are covering up their un-masculine face, or just un-kept in appearance. It all comes down to the society you live in and how you feel about yourself. For me, the ritual of shaving in the morning, once done, frees me from my course facial hairs for the the rest of the day. I had a beard for a short while, it was a pain in the .... I see men fussing with their facial hairs, most of the time they are bald, and find it to be more of a fashion statement, to Quakers that is being vain.
    It all comes down to the people you hang out with, the clan, the tribe, you want to be part of. The rest is in your head, or on your head. That is my opinion for what it is worth.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  20. Awkward Situations

    From our dear leader, the late George Carlin:

    "What is this religious fascination with headgear? Every religion's got a different f'cking hat!"

    😉

    August 9, 2012 at 4:40 am |
    • FutureWizard

      @Awkward Situations

      Hey why don't you read something about Sikhism.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      FutureWizard: Guess you failed to comprehend that. He was not pointing directly at one belief system but instead all of them.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Awkward Situations

      Hey FutureWizard, I'm a former Sikh turned Atheist.

      Why don't you read something about Irony.

      August 10, 2012 at 3:47 am |
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About this blog

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.