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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.

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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. fedupwithla

    If I had a headache, I would take an aspirin rather than wear a turban. That way, I wouldn't be demonstrating to the world how proud I was that I had a headache. It's that simple . . .

    August 9, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • SurelyUjest

      So you are comparing deeply held religious and spiritual views to a headache? Your answer in my opinion is what is wrong with my fellow Americans. We think our way is the only way in most things, we think that our clothing is the only fashion, we think our laws are the only right laws, we are soo wrapped up in ourselves that we minimize our fellow man with statements like this. Here in a country where religion and differences make us better and stronger and those differences have been the hallmark of the great American experiment we call Capitalist/Federalism. The ignorance and hatred spewed forth by the rightwing media and politcal and religious zealots are hurting America in so many ways. I am sad to read this kind of comparison.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Mancunian

      That's a typical reply from a white ignorant person, who I had the pleasure of meeting many times whilst growing up in the UK. Remember, Sikhs were an integral force/army units under the Britiish Empire which helped liberate Europe from Nazi Germany both in the First and Second world war. At that time, the turban was not an issue as many many Siks were killed as part of the war.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Nate Higgers

      Any other race on the planet attempting to talk down to a White Man and call him ignorant is very, very ungrateful for giving you the conveniences in life that you take for granted every day.
      Look around you, at every object you can see; White Men invented it. With out the White Man, you'd all still be living in mud huts held together by animal excrement, and ideals such as philosophy, ethics, morality, etc. would have never existed.
      Be grateful for what White Men have created for themselves, and then allowed your feeble mind to learn how to use it.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You didn't pass history and civics, did you?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Which God??

      @fedup. Not-Too-Fooking-Bright, are you?

      August 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Nate Higgers

      I sure did, Tom. This is why I can speak of these things with such authority, unlike yourself who simply uses your own delusional thoughts and try to twist them into some truth you conveniently use for yourself. The real world awaits, if you possess the IQ to take it all in. We'll be waiting.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  2. jony

    Since the Sikh relegion has a history of persecution in India dating back 500 years for the same basic misconception (confusion with Muslims) you would think they would spend some money educating the public that they are not Muslims. Since 9/11 they have remained silent

    August 9, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Harry

      That is one of the stupidest, ignorant comments I have seen posted.... Sikhs have gone out their way since 9/11 to educate the public of the differences.... Stupid, ignorant people like you just havnt paid attention....

      August 9, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Huebert

      @jony

      The decision not to emphasize the difference between Sikh and Muslims was made by the american Sikh leadership. They thought it might seem to Muslims like the Sikhs were throwing them under the bus, for lack of a better expression. Ultimately it was compassion that stopped them from doing as you suggest.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Which God??

      @jony. Not so. Thet have been trying to educate folks for many, many years. Ifnorance and the unwillingness of others to LISTEN is what causes this stuff.Sikhs are not radical by nature, They will fight, like anyone, if they have too. They want ot be left alone, like most folks. Sadly, you have ignorant religious zealots, who spew their 'godly hate,' on anyone not like them. Same for muslim radical fools.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  3. labandme

    Boy, I'd get rid of my turban too if I thought it made people think I was a muslim.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      first sensible thing posted here today. dont play with fire if ya dont wanna get burned

      August 9, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • SurelyUjest

      So you expect an individual to change something sacred and unique to him because of fear of what other small minded Americans might do? Your thinking is part of the problem, you need to stand up for your fellow Americans regardless of religon, hair length, clothing, customs and include them not justify conformity because of hate mongering nobodys on the right.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      How is a turban unique to an individual if everyone if that faith wears one? That's not unique, it's conformity.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      Sounds like something a p_ussy would do. So you'd rather hide like a rat, than to live like a lion? Not I. You don't like me that much, then attack. Just know that in this global jungle of humans, you never know what you'll get in return. Odds aren't just for Vegas, y'know...

      August 9, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Nate Higgers

      Fine, keep that turban on your head. When you get shot in it, or blown up, stfu and stop complaining. You had a choice, after all.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Nate Higgers – Do you 'Nate Higgers' because you fear them? Nature probably meant to make you a tabby.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  4. MetheBLKman

    When American's become 'hipe' as to WHY they wear them, then I think people will less likely to confuse the meaning behind it, so I say wear them if that is what you want to do. Personally, I really admire what wearing them stand for..............PEACE and LOVE, the World could use much more of that. WEAR THEM PLEASE!

    August 9, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • jony

      On the contrary since the men NEVER cut their hair, the turban has a practical purpose it is not just a symbol

      August 9, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      Joy, it's called an elastic band. They don't need a turban to hold their hair back so that is nothing more than an excuse

      August 9, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • SurelyUjest

      LIke a Catholic eats Fish on Fridays during lent and orthodox Jews wear a yamika Sikh's let their hair grow long and maintain it in a traditional way to show their sacrafice and devotion to their beliefs. How is this an excuse? how is this bad in any way? I say we lazy American's need to get educated and learn instead of putting the responibility on another group. Lazy lazy lazy and unaccountable.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      But that isn't what Jong said now is it? Jong said that they wear it to keep their hair back. I gave aviable alternative to keep their hair back. Use your brain.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you don't need to wear a baseball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes. You don't need to wear pants to cover your body–you can just wear a long skirt. You don't need to wear a belt-just tie a piece of twine around your waist.

      Idiot.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      Tom, the baseball cap is convenient, the pants protect your legs better than the skirt does from both cold and damage and The belt is a much stronger apparatus to keep your belt up than twine. Your arguments are pointless. Ecause they have nothing to do with reality. An elastic band is more convenient, and stronger than a turbin, it's also cooler. The only reason they wear it is tradition. It's not even an official part of the religion. It's optional. Just like the cross, the burka and all other religious symbols.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  5. Jason Bryan

    Um...seriously??? Why are we even debating this??? The founding fathers came here to freely express faith, this is no different. I am not a Sikh (Methodist, actually), but see wearing a turban (as a faith expression) as no different than wearing a cross. CNN, you are allowing something to be debated that shouldn't even be this big. Its a horrible act of hate that was committed. Say it for what it is, and don't run stories like this that encouring debating something that needs no debate.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • AGREED!

      well said Jason. WELL SAID.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • myweightinwords

      If the man in the article is debating it and it's his own faith that he's doubting, why shouldn't others talk about it too?

      And, honestly, if those of us who know and understand that this SHOULDN'T BE AN ISSUE don't talk about it, don't condemn those who would assault a person for wearing an expression of faith, how will those who don't know, who fear what is different, be exposed to understanding?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  6. AJ

    We may have reached Mars and may even travel beyond but will that stop massacres and mayhem on our planet earth? Our country has spent $2.5 billion to reach Mars and to study stones. Today, will you spend 2.5 minutes–or a bit more–and force your heart to hear the sobbing orphans and wailing widows in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

    August 9, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      I have to disagree with you about the space program. that stuff is VASTLY important to all of us. Trust me. Earth will not forever be our home if we can survive each other. This exploration is good money spent.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  7. AJ

    "no motive for the attack has been established." I must ask what else would be necessary to establish the motive? Page was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military where he served as a Psy-Ops analyst AND the Southern Poverty Law Center identified him as a neo-Nazi AND he shot innocent people at a place of worship.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  8. AJ

    Also, how come one is talking about a Mosgue burned to the ground by the some hatefull person.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Amanda

      Because anti-Muslim hatred is still widely considered acceptable by most of the US. People may not stand up and admit this, but inaction speaks louder .

      August 9, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  9. AJ

    "An attack on one house of worship is an attack upon all of us. An assault on one faith community is an assault upon all of us."
    Until America embraces this paradigm, some American terrorist will keep killing some innocent and faithful worshiper somewhere. And this reminds me of a man who lived and died for that America: to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "We may have traveled into galaxies and reached stars but have not yet learned how to live on earth like brothers and sisters."

    August 9, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      MLK would rollover in his grave if he saw how todays bruthas and sistuhs are killin each other over street corners.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us is a two way street , trade towers were attacked by muslims so by your account all of us were attacked by all of them,remember every arguement is two sided not just your side

      August 9, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @fiftyfive55 – See, I attempt to keep an open mind with you and you mockingly say stuff like, "bruthas and sistuhs". And then you wonder where the scrutiny on white males comes from. It's because you help keep the scrutiny up with insensitivity. Truly, if there's one thing many people like yourself are guilty of, if not racism, it's lack of empathy. And you KNOW what your doing, which worstens it.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  10. AJ

    We're spending $2.5 billion to send the "Curiosity" vehicle on Mars. But we’ve yet to understand our own Planet Earth.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • JPX

      People can wear whatever they want however knowing that the turban incites racism and anger because of its unfortunate association with terrorism I sure as hell would not wear one. Why take the chance that some nut-job is going to harm you because of ignorance?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      Have some hope in the future, AJ.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • JD

      Why leave your home if there's a chance you can get hit by a bus?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Peter Grenader

      This is like comparing oranges to Elephants. The exploration of the Solar System should not be governed by our unwillingness to accept the attributes of the species that achieved it: people are pack animals. Deny it if you chose, but the evidence is overwhelming. What we are seeing in Wisc. is a chapter out of wolf pack mentality.

      Also, for those you love dinging the expense of the MSL, realize that in the 1970's the budgets alloted to Mariner were 3 billion PER MISSION in 2012 dollars, in which there were 4. NASA and JPL are setting a new standard in more for less.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  11. Truth

    @Phil, What a blatant lies from you. You are just not racist but in fact you are an ignorant and propagandist. First of all, try to learn proper English and addressing properly to the community about whom this article is about. The religion name is "Sikh" and not "Sick" and they are victims and not "victoms". Now come to your lies. In india, you can easily go into any temple across the nation other than Puri temple (which has history of incursion by non-Hindus and they strict to rule that only Hindu can enter). You can also go to any Gurudwaras (Sikh's worship place). It is very common sight that Sikh and Hindus go to each other's worship places. On the other hand, I know Christians and Muslims don't want to enter in Temples themselves for being becoming infidel. They are very narrow-minded people in India. I had one christian friend and he would not enter temple as he thought he would not remain christian, on the other hand Hindus like myself are very broad-minded and interested in learning others' religion and culture. I have gone to churches and to Muslims' Dargahs. Now come to your point about freedom of religion. I think India is most diverse in terms of religion and this land has given birth to many religions. There are people from many religion (Shias, Ahmedis, Zoroastrians, Jews) who kept coming to India for asylum when they were killed and persecuted in their own land. That is why you can find Jews and other people who settled in India centuries ago. India and Hinduism had tradition of looking at all religion equally even in age when people in middle east were killing each other in name of religion whether crusaders or Jihadist. Indians are also very accommodating when it comes to looks and it does not matter how any religion dresses up and there is no hate against somebody just because he/she wearing turban, beards or hijab. In short, we are not ignorant like Americans regarding others' culture and religion. Now, This is blatant lie that christrians are killed in India. There were few incident in past but on the other hand missionaries in India involved only in conversion by money and in name of social cause. Now, Truth is that Christians and Muslims in India have Hindu ancestry. Even your ancestors would have been Hindu. This is known that new converts are more fanatical to get more acceptance in faith and would also go to length to hate their earlier religion. They would keep finding fault in their earlier religion to justify their conversion but this is just like cutting your roots. This is unfortunate for India that we have so many converts and who are hateful towards their own country and would not leave chance to destroy or demean it and that is exactly what most christians like you and muslims are doing in India.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Jack

      we have plenty of Americans Who hate America too. they're all over this comment section. they may say they don't but their posts say otherwise.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Huebert

      @jack

      You can know a person's mind better than they can themselves! When did you develop such fantastic powers? Or are you just fitting everyone into your over simplified world view?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      Dont forget that India is so peaceful,they feel the need to possess nuclear weapons.You are so full of it.Why dont you spend more time erdicating child slavery in India instead of telling us we are wrong minded .

      August 9, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Amazing, isn't it, Huebert?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  12. myweightinwords

    As an American citizen, I do not dress to make other people comfortable with me. In fact, I dress for myself. I dress for comfort, for ease of getting around, for how I feel I look best. As a Pagan, I don't really have any dress codes dictated by my religion.

    I wear a lot of black, but I'm not a goth. I wear hats. Lots of hats. I love hats. I wear dresses and skirts and jeans. I largely wear things that are sleeveless because I tend to be hot all the time. I tend to wear things that show a bit of cleavage, in part due to the being hot thing and in part because I have fabulous cleavage.

    All that said, it isn't my job as an American citizen to dress in a way to please and comfort my fellow citizens. It's not my job to cover my skin so some guy with a wandering eye doesn't accidentally have lustful thoughts. It's not my job to wear a veil or other head covering.

    We are not the same. This country should be proud of its diversity. It should be a badge of honor that we are a society of differences and no one should fear for their lives because of the color of their skin, their form of dress, whether or not they wear a turban or a cross or a star of David or a pentacle.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @myweightinwords

      Excellent, per usual !

      Peace...

      August 9, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Beth

      Well said! Our country's diversity is and should continue to be one of our greatest strengths! The founding fathers understood this when they set up our government, and its a tragedy when hatred and bigotry override this. The vast majority of people are basically good, good Christians, good Muslims, good Jews, good Sikh, good Atheists, etc. happy to allow each other their chance at peace, happiness and prosperity. Let us not allow the 5% bent on hatred to take control of our national conversations! Enough is enough!

      August 9, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Actually Beth, I think it may be the lack of talking about it that has let it fester.

      Everything in our national conversation (so to speak) is so heavily skewed to one side or the other, so based in rhetoric and emotion that the voice of the middle is lost.

      When we don't stand up to those who speak to polarize our nation into right and left, Christian and Atheist, Republican and Democrat, we let the vitriol speak for us. It's time to stop being quiet. It's time to stop letting hate be the language we speak best. It's time we start demanding our conversation be based on truth and not hyperbole.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Which God??

      @ my weight. Where is a frickin' "LIKE" button when you need one? Blessed Be.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      myweight, excellent post as usual. Please go speak to Jack. He doesn't get it.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  13. BRod

    Wear what you want. Intelligent Americans do not mind a bit! The people who attack someone over a turban are the same kind of people who will attack someone over wearing a rival football team shirt. They are out there, but why live your life in fear and cater to someone else's prejudice?

    August 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Which God??

      BRod. That is just it. Why should you live in fear? You don't live in fear of driving, do you? You aren't afaid someone will rob you at the ATM, are you? You have to LIVE your life your way. Give in to that fear, and you have lost. Those who you would 'fear' have beaten you. I won't do that, for anyone. Push through that fear, work WITH it, USE it to make you stronger. Fear is there, for sure, but you CAN get through it, control it. I have the t-shirt. I have been so scared you couldn't have put a lubricated needle near my bu-tt, the pucker factor was so high. I functioned. I got through it. Fear is there, always will be. USE it.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  14. Jack

    i was just wascthing Bill Maher's video at the bottom of this page. I'm not religious but why the attcks on Christians? He wouldn't talk of muslims like that or any other religion. He's an athiest that is too scared to insult any other religion. he feels safe insulting Christianity because he knows CVhjristians won't do anything. if he insulted the muslim religion he'd probably have a hit on him. What a coward Bill Maher.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • BRod

      Um. have you seen Religulous? He attacks Muslims too.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Jack

      Actually, you are incorrect. Bill Maher, takes aim at Islam too, as well as Scientology, etc... 'Not'... just Christianity.

      Peace...

      August 9, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Beth

      This is exactly the "oh no, THEY are out to get US" type of mentality we need to confront. Bill speaks up against the ridiculousness of all religions, and all religions have a small percentage of whack jobs bent on destroying the world in their image. When you learn that its not that folks are after Christianity in particular, you can start understanding and join us in making a better world.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Peter Grenader

      Yes he did (Bill Maher), although Evangelistic Christians are the easy target in this country because they're behaving like a bunch of holier than thou petulant children pushing dogmatism.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • the voice of reason

      Maher is not a coward, he tries to show that ALL religion is rediculous, which it is. The murders don't suprise me. It's just a response to ignorance of other cultures. As long as we continue to accept this form of mental illness called religion, nothing will change, and people of all faiths will continue to kill others. From my POV, the only religions that still kill people are Muslims and Christians. And if you know anything about history, the Muslims have a long way to catch up the violence committed by Christians over the years.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  15. AJ

    If one studies the religion of Islam, you know how similar it is to Christianity and Judiasm. There are bad apples in every faith. so please do not judge everyone the same. America needs a crash course in "religion".

    August 9, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      I know religion and have studied it. Christianity is no better than Islam but it isn't Christianity that blew up the WTC and hit the pentagon. I'm sorry but that's simple truth. Both religions have far too much power for anyone's good.

      If it was the Christians doing the attacking, the people would feel the exact same way.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Peter Grenader

      The reference to 9/11 made me want to vomit.

      Even Bush, as much as I hated the guy was quick to warn us about demonizing Muslims over 9/11. It's patently unfair , unjust and nothing more than a weak excuse for outspoken bigotry. If you want to be good... be like me! If not, you're going to hell and you're a terrorist.

      Hogwash!!!!!

      August 9, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      Peter , since 911 they have done quite a good job demonizing themselves what with all the honor killings and stuff. It's not just 911, you five year old

      August 9, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  16. fiftyfive55

    I just love how responses to my statements only reinforce what I say. I dont agree with my responders so they fall back on calling me a racist when,in reality,all I staed was the truth.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There are few absolute truths. You believe what you posted is "true". I say it is just your persecution complex that makes you think so. And since quite a few others have agreed, you might want to think about getting some perspective, 55.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      I don't think you're a racist from your comments. I think you may not be looking at the FULL picture, so your comment came across as narrow. I do understand your position, but look at the 'why' this has occurred. People before us have created this racial enviornment in America. So this 'backlash' against white males you descibe isn't coming from white males just being white males, it stems from a LOT of psychological pain. The 'N'-word may as well be a trigger word. When it comes out of a black person's mouth, "that's ok". Comes out of Jay Leno's mouth? They will shutdown the Tonight Show.

      There's still PLENTY of animosity left over from America's history, as well as the racism still found here in this country. Do white people get the most scrutiny? Yes. Is the scrutiny credible? Yes..... to a degree (I admit, there's a good percentage of overreaction when it comes to a white person saying something verses most other races).

      August 9, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • jonesc22

      What truth is there in saying that an educated black woman only got where she is because of affirmative action? If you can answer that, I might take your posts a touch more seriously. But since you cannot, and will not, we are back at square one.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  17. Nikki

    I think the gentleman should have the choice of wearing one or not. I don't try to convert someone to my beliefs so I expect the same courtesy from other people.
    .
    Bottom Line on which 'religion' is the right one, ask yourself what religion does God have? No one really knows, now do they??

    August 9, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  18. therealpeace2all

    Reblogged this on peace2alldotme.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  19. AJ

    Most Americans are ignorant and don't know anything about any religion, i.e. Sikh, Islam, Judaism and other religion. They based their opinions based on what they see in the Media. So, please stop judging all people of faith based on the actions of hand full of people who spread hate. Muslim (like me) are peace loving people too, just like any Jews, Christians or Sikhs.
    I have taken comparative religion class in Collage and I know what makes each religion special and different from another. They should make “comparative religion” course part of a required curriculum.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Sunny

      They do have courses in middle school where they talk about different religions – It's in 8th grade History (I think)

      August 9, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      I judge ppl based on their actions. However, lack of action speaks just as loudly as action. The problem is that the non radicals don't loudly denounce the behavior if the radicals. It makes it seem as though they approve. Boy I hate religion. Nothing in this world has caused more suffering for humanity than religion.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      AJ,I hate to break the news to you but we are at war with the mideast muslim world(even if you wont admit it)If muslims are so peace loving in America,why do they pick highly controversial areas to build mosques,most if not all churches built in America were erected BEFORE the surrounding neighborhoods were established.Was the mosque down the street from the world trade center an act of peace ? I dont think so.Do you realize how many mosques have ties to foreign terrorists ?Quit calling us ignorant to your religion and instead try to understand us for a change.We are not beholding to you but rather you to us for allowing you to live here.ASSIMILATE NOW.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Beth

      Wow 55, how narrow minded can you get?
      ".We are not beholding to you but rather you to us for allowing you to live here."

      So the Native American's are allowing us caucasians to live here I guess? And regarding building a mosque in a controversial place... well they live there. And we have Freedom of Religion. Give them the freedom to worship and you can expect the same in return.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  20. Linda

    Because of Osama bin Laden we in America associate turbans with terrorists. If a person decides to wear a turban then that person has chosen to be different and to possibly become the target of ridicule and violence. We want everyone to look like our definition of "American." In the city a person has to dress & look like a "city person." In rural areas overalls are the required dress–and plaid shirts. It's almost like we've assigned uniforms to every segment of our population and turbans just don't sit well with most of the population. I say that only because of the violence groups who look different have suffered. It's not right but it's a fact of life.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      Sounds like your advice is, "conform or die".

      ..... maybe I stretched it a bit, but that's how it reads to me.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Pali

      I agree with AverageJoe76. What kind of freedom we talk about in American, if one can't wear what he/she wants. There different cultures in America bringing their best to add up here. That is what makes America Strong and Unique. I love to part of America and a Sikh.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Mike

      I agree with Linda, it is sad bad true, and if you don't like it you can always leave the US, no one is force to stay here.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Mike – So do you support conformity in America? That's the America you want? If not, then just don't condone it. I'd rather people be themselves. When people conform, it makes the world boring. You don't have to accept an America that forces people to conform. We are suppose to be the 'Melting Pot'. But some people just want plain ol' tomato soup.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Moiraesfate

      Pali, there is a reason that France banned the burka. Because suicide bombers have been known to wear one to conceal explosives. Not every type of clothing is ok. Sometimes it's a matter of safety. Believe it or not, not everything is about the individual

      August 9, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Peter Grenader

      Linda, it's a sad fact of our makeup as humans. We are pack animals, plain and simple. We may cover ourselves with clothing and wear deodorants to mask our scent, but we cannot deny what we are and how we behave. Lone wolves or packs in another's territory are usually killed by the pack that's laid claim to the area. What difference is this to some wack killing people who don't look like, believe in or act as he does in his hometown? Notin'

      August 9, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Pali

      @Moiraesfate
      Burka may make sense to hide things and same do the long coat or heavy jacket. There should be a logic behind it and I fail to see it for covering your head. Turban's come in variety shapes and sizes, its just a matter of how a Sikh ties it. What I think this is a matter of education and knowing people of different culture. People need to learn about and accept other people.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
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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.