August 5th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

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

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story ran in 2011, around the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

By Jose G. Santos, CNN

Fairfax Station, Virginia (CNN)– Ten years ago, Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down, apparently because he looked Muslim or Arab.

He was neither.

Sodhi was a Sikh. Members of the religious tradition say he was the first person to be murdered in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks.

That claim has been backed up by the Justice Department.

"The first person killed in post-9/11 violence, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was a Sikh, shot while pumping gas at his gas station in Arizona four days after 9/11," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez in congressional testimony earlier this year.

For American Sikhs, Sunday's deadly attack on worshippers at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee dredged up memories of other recent attacks against their community.

At least seven people, including a gunman shot by a police officer, were killed in Sunday's attack.

In the case of the post 9/11 attack on in Arizona, a 45-year-old aircraft mechanic named Frank Roque gunned down a bearded, turban-wearing Indian immigrant outside a Mesa gas station. Roque drove up to the station, fired a handgun  at Balbir Singh Sodhi - who owned the station - five times, then fled.

Roque would go on to shoot at a Lebanese-American gas station clerk and fire into the home of an Afghan-American family later that same day.

In 2003, Roque was sentenced to death for Sodhi's murder. On appeal, his sentence was reduced to life in prison.

Blending in, standing out

Ten years after the September 11 attacks, which provoked a wave of organizing among Sikhs worried about being mistakenly targeted in retaliatory attacks, adherents of the religion remain both visible and enigmatic.

"Most of the challenges we face can be traced to people not knowing who we are," said Jasjit Singh, assistant executive director at the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, in an interview last year. "I don't feel there is a specifically anti-Sikh bias, because people don't know what Sikhs are."

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

Singh's group estimates that there are about 500,000 Sikhs in the United States, nearly all of Indian origin.

Sikh women are less identifiable than men, identifiable by their beards and turbans. Many American Sikh women dress like other Westerners or wear the salwar kameez, a traditional north Indian garment of a long shirt and loose-fitting pants.

A woman prays during a Sikh service.

Sikhism emerged more than 500 years ago in Punjab, in what is now India.

Adherents of the monotheistic faith believe in "devotion, remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality between all human beings, social justice, while emphatically denouncing superstitions and blind rituals," according to the website of the Sikh Coalition, a U.S.-based group.

"The ultimate goal in Sikhism is to merge into the divine love we know is God," said Navdeep Singh, a policy adviser to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, in an interview last year.

"We believe in the cycle of reincarnation," he said. "That you will be judged by your deeds, and come back, and each time you come back you move one step closer to the divine."

There are 25 million Sikhs around the world, according to the Sikh Coalition, which was formed after the September 11 attacks.

Congregants meet inside a Sikh temple in Virginia.

Inside the temple

A Sikh temple is called a gurdwara, which means door to the guru, or teacher.

Gurdwara refers to both a place and a practice, encompassing temple, teachings and ceremony.

Gurdwaras around the world variously incorporate clinics, schools, guest quarters and community centers, which Sikhs say is a sign of the religion's values of service and equality.

Explainer: Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?

"Sikhism was founded in an area and in a time in which inequality was rampant," said Navdeep Singh. "If you were a woman, you were less than a man. If you were poor you were less than a rich person. Based on what caste you were, that defined your entire life. Sikhism was a rejection of those ideas."

At the gurdwara known as the Sikh Foundation of Virginia,  the muffled trills of a harmonium blended with birdsong on a recent Sunday morning.

The golden dome of the Sikh Foundation of Virginia.

The temple's  golden dome shimmers among the rustling dark green woods like a crown atop a velvet cushion.

As worshipers enter, shoeless and with heads covered, they approach the Guru Granth Sahib, a book elaborately enthroned beneath a canopy at the head of the building's main hall.

Obeisance is made, and a gift, usually of money, is placed on the dais. Music, song, prayer, readings from the Guru Granth Sahib and sermons comprise most of the ceremony. Everyone sits on the floor, men on one side, women on the other, children wherever suits them.

Congregants meet for prayer and study in Virginia.

"The beginning of our Guru Granth Sahib, and Sikh philosophy is really encapsulated in the first phrase: 'Ik Onkar,' which means 'there is one God,' " said Navdeep Singh.

More than a book of scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib is considered to be a living teacher, or guru.

After the service congregants share a communal meal.

After the worship service, called Diwan, comes Langar, a simple meal eaten while sitting on the floor, which Sikhs say reinforces the ethic of egalitarianism.

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"Langar is based on this idea of equality, and making sure that no one goes away hungry," said Navdeep Singh. "Because as Sikhs, we're kind of like Italians. We view everyone as one family. And if you're part of that family, you can't go away hungry. You have to have a meal together."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Sikh • United States • Virginia

soundoff (422 Responses)
  1. LV

    I am sorry he was killed. But saying an insane person took revenge for 9/11 is like blaming evil acts on Satan.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • mike

      I know one wacko and its a revenge killing. Ok then 3000 to 1 and and the 1 was a mistake.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • IsNot

      It was deemed a revenge killing because the perp declared it to be one. He freely stated he was going to get all the Muslims he could because of what happened. It doesn't matter that he only killed one (and shot at others as well). The point is that his stated goal was to shoot ANYONE.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  2. Ian

    See. We (non-Americans) keep telling you about your education problem, but you don't do anything about it. The guy thought that somehow a Sikh American was a supporter of the terrorists. You can't get much more uneducated than that.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Funny, as THIS American learned a BIT about them in a public high school, before I graduated in 1980.
      Unfortunately, ALL religions are now forbidden from schools by atheists, who insist upon a non-rounded education. :/
      When no preference was given for any faith in the class, it DID stand up in court. But, the states hated paying to fight legal actions repeatedly, so all was dropped.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Jimmy G

      i see our resident idiot has returned. "I wuz there!" he screams with the bloody froth on his lips.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • neal kelley

      Education can produce religious ignorance. If the educational process mis-represent a religion it will fill the student with bias... A person can have a PhD and still be religiously ignorant. The only way is to have people properly integrated so they can interact with each other..

      September 16, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  3. Justin

    Of course the shooter was from Arizona.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Horizons

      And I bet he was a Alex Jones Follower, Gun Handling libertarian fool

      September 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Horizons, I'm a gun handling, gun carrying Democrat fool. I'm a fool because I defended this nation and your ungrateful self for over 27 years, with nearly 5 years of combat.
      Second amendment, the protector of the first and the rest. For, it IS a final, last ditch option.
      Remember the FINAL, after all other recourse is exhausted.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  4. Chris

    Good article. I have seen very little about Sikhism in the media and its great to have articles like this that promote it in good life. I as a Christian have enjoyed every contact I have had with the few Sikhs in my community and they truly are great folks to be around.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Bill Hopkinson

      WCH. Justice?

      August 6, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  5. Jas Singh


    September 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Bharat

      See my earlier link about Sikh extremism, and the assassination of India's Prime Minister by Sikhs.. that led to this

      As I said, I protected my Sikh classmates from the mob after the assassination. Can you believe the hurt that I felt, when I saw that he had a decorated picture of Bhindranwale in his wardrobe ?

      September 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Bharat

      And.. Mr. Singh.. I will also add... that I am so respectful of all the great Sikhs that have served India.. including all the military personnel and President Giani Zail Singh..

      What ticked me off.. is that members of a religion that was formed to protect India from Islamic attacks, sided with Pakistan to cause terrorism in their own India...

      I know that you say that Sikhs were treated as second class citizens in India... In my poor eyes, from my mud hut.. all I saw was all these military people who were Sikhs, and a President who was Sikh, and then the violence, aircraft bombing, and the assassination of a Prime Minister...... and I could not connect the dots...

      September 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  6. ramnik

    i m Indian christian but i grow up with all Hindus and Sikhs friends and i think they are the best in the world.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Indian Hindu

      Thank you bro..That meant a lot to me.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  7. Jas Singh

    George...You can get more info on Sikhism as http://WWW.SIKHNET.COM

    September 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  8. khalsa

    why Sikhs wear turban?

    The turban of a Sikh is his or her primary identifying feature. It is a statement of belonging to the Guru, and it is a statement of the inner commitment of the one who wears it. The uncut hair and the turban are a declaration to live in accordance with the Teachings of the Sikh Gurus and the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

    when Sikhs started wearing Turban?

    During Guru Gobind Singh’s time, the turban, or “dastar,” as it is called in Persian, carried a totally different connotation from that of a hat in Europe. The turban represented respectability and was a sign of nobility. At that time, a Mughal aristocrat or a Hindu Rajput could be distinguished by his turban. The Hindu Rajputs were the only Hindus allowed to wear ornate turbans, carry weapons and have their mustache and beard. Also at this time, only the Rajputs could have Singh (“lion”) or Kaur (“princess”) as their second name. Even the Gurus did not have Singh as part of their name, until the Tenth Guru.

    The downtrodden followers of the Sikh faith did not have the means to display aristocratic attire, nor were they allowed to, even if they had the means. (Doing so was usually equivalent to a death sentence.) It was in this context that Guru Gobind Singh decided to turn the tables on the ruling aristocracy by commanding every Sikh to carry a sword, take up the name Singh or Kaur, and have kesh (hair) and turban displayed boldly, without any fear. This effectively made his followers see themselves on a par with the Mughal rulers.

    The turban tells others that we are different. By having a distinct appearance, Sikhs become accountable for their actions. Our distinct Sikh appearance not only makes us think more often about our conduct and its reflection upon a wider society, it also makes us reflect upon our own ideals and how they reflect the teachings of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • boris

      never know when you might need a good sharp knife, too.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • khalsa

      Hi boris ...no Sikh carries sharp knife these days ..they just carry a blunt knife , even which is usually sealed!!! Sikhs used to carry it to protect themselves but these days they don't need to since we have law and order and people are more civilized...

      September 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • The First Jeff

      Very informational post. The turban is a timeless way to demonstrate character.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  9. Bharat

    This was a cowardly act by an ignorant idiot...

    Remember... Sikh religion was created to protect Bharat (India) from Muslim invasions. Sikhs have been revered in the Indian armed forces. Yet they terrorized their own country with Pakistan's help , Yes a Muslim Nation, for years in the name of a freedom fight to create Khalistan. They killed innocent Hindus & Sikhs, with the help of their training from Pakistan. They blew up an Air India plane Khanishka.. Then they assassinated India's Prime Minister Indhira Gandhi... Most Sikhs are good people.. as are most Muslims.. but terrorists exist in EVERY single religion, including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhs..

    September 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Jas Singh

      Bharat...if you'd really like to go there, why not tell the whole story. You are absolutely right there are fundamentalists in every religion...now lets start with a bit of a timeline here. You reported the "terrorism, the bombing of the plane" which was horrible and that person condemmned to death. You did however fail to mention the butchering of INNOCENT FAMILIES ON THE STREETS OF THE CAPITAL OF MY ANCESTRAL LAND INDIA PRIOR TO YOUR DESCRIBED INCIDENTS". Unofficial reports put the death toll to 10000 innocent sikhs burned and maimed and butchered by the GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. A well organized genocide put together by the GOVERNMENT OF INDIA.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Jas Singh

      This my friend BHARAT is what i call STATE SPONSERED TERRORISM.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Bharat


      September 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • khalsa

      Don't feed the troll!!!

      September 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Bharat

      The perpetrators of the Air India bombings .. walked free...


      September 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bharat

      I am aware that what I am posting has nothing to do with this tragic event, where an innocent Sikh was murdered by a misguided idiot. However, as I read the article, my mind went back to those days in India, where I would read about the killings in Punjab, and how those terrorists were trained in Pakistan. When Indira Ghandhi was assassinated, crowds stormed my campus in S. India to find Sikhs & hurt them. I was one of the few that hid my classmates and protected them.

      Don't get me wrong.. I love my Sikh friends and I admire Sikhism as a faith, and what it as done for India... but those Khalistan years are unpardonable.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Singh

      Mr Bharat- do you even know the genesis of Khalistan movement? Let me know what would you do if you where

      1. asked to leave all that you have and become a refugee in their own country

      2. After years of toil and hard work, when you achieve prosperity you are again asked to share resources with other states

      3. Your religious freedom is interfered at every given opportunity..

      Indira Gandhi was the worst thing that happened to India & you guys are still facing the consequences of her acts..

      September 16, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Indian Hindu

      @ Bharat. You are an idiot for bringing up the past here. You need to STFU.
      Love from India to all my Sikh brothers and sisters. Indians are extremely proud of Sikhs.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Indian Hindu

      The bravest of the brave in Indian military are the Sikhs. Our prime minister is a Sikh.
      Love the Sikhs.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Indian Hindu

      Looks like a Paki disguised under the name 'Bharat'

      August 5, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • JuJu Bee

      I believe most people in this country that truly practice any type of religion are peaceful – whether they are Christians, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh – the list can go on and on. It's upsetting to see how quickly we all are to generalize about an entire religion based on the actions of a few. In any group – you will find people that will take things to the extreme. We're human and a side to our lives that we must learn to deal with.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • mac

      Bharat Your views are senseless and not related to incident. I can bring up so many examples from Hindus doing atrocities against so many other minorties in India. The Sikhs as you said were formed to Protect the right of others. At that time in INDIA it was Muslims/Mughal Emprire but now situation has changed. Not going in to details how and what happen with INDRA Gandhi. The point here is innocent people lost their life does not matter which religion they belong- They were all human beings killed for no reason. So BHARAT Don't confuse and mislead people.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  10. Jas Singh

    Excellent Article! As a sikh myself i appreciate CNN for providing my fellow citizens with this detailed knowledge. As a Sikh we are taught tolerance from the very begining as a way of life. Also as an american we have adapted to true american values in our household. Ask any sikh and they would tell you how appreciative they feel of our great nation. I love U.S.A.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • George

      It looks good to me. Can I join? I have known Sikhs in the past and worked with them in the American defense industry. How do you go about becoming one?

      September 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • dash

      George, start by visiting gurudwara in your area for few weeks.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  11. khalsa

    one more thing some people are saying that there were only Few cases immediately after 9/11 ... that's not true there are still many attacks on Sikhs now and then and you guys don't hear about them is because they are not published in notional news ..if it is some Muslim being killed it will be all over the news but if some Sikh is killed (he is also killed for same reasons, being mistaken as Muslim) media will not report it or only local media reports and you will never see it on news on tv...

    September 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  12. khalsa

    Really good Article ...We need more articles like these , so that we know each other better. you guys really don't have any idea how much hate is there against Sikhs(Just because people think they are Muslim) , Sikhs are hated even more than Muslims since ignorant people not only associate them with But actual followers of "Bin L@den" ..... Believe me its very serious and even after 10 years and numerous campaigns about Sikhism (no being Muslims) nothing has changed much. Even now every now and then some sikh gets bitten up or killed (Like to 2 old sikhs guys gunned down in California) and a Sikh restaurant burned down on 9/11 this year...This all for what !! Indians Sikhs in specific have nothing against US or Westerners, they don't have any thing against any other religion ...why don't Americans read there history and see Sikhs fought for them in WW2 at least you should they should get some respect for that only ....and if you read history you will see that Sikhs and Hindus were butchered in India mercilessly even when Sikhs ruled most of the northern India including parts which are now Pakistan and Afghanistan..they never said any thing to Muslims...They treated everybody equally..Sikhs rulers donated gold for Golden Temple (Sikh Gurudwara in Amritsar) but along with that they donated gold and money to Hindu Temples as well as Muslim Mosques . This is another example of how Sikhs just not believe in equality of all human beings , they also mean it ..

    September 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  13. G

    We shot a wedding at this gurudwara in Virginia http://khannaphotography.com/BLOG/2011/07/yogita-aaphtaab-wedding-part-1-getting-ready/

    September 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • semantics

      "We shot a wedding" is perhaps a bad opener for a piece describing the gunning down of a male Sikh.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  14. Ash

    Most Sikhs, Hindu's and Buddhists and Christians from India are cool people. See the men and women eating together in the picture.
    It is the Taliban that is the Cancer. They want to kill everybody else.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Indian Hindu

      Agreed. Love you Ash.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  15. starwalker

    All of the Sikhs that I know are very peaceful, very driven individuals. They care deeply for their family and friends. Many of them come to America to gain a better life for their children. They work hard, pay their taxes, and send their kids to college to become contributing members of society. As this article pointed out, Sikhs are very generous when it comes to charity. I don't understand why some bigoted individuals feel the need to discriminate against Sikhs. Seems to me that we need more of them to make America even more diverse and beautiful.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      The reason for the story is, one idiot decided to seek revenge against some Arabs that killed themselves by ramming jets into the WTC, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. He did so by running around shooting his fellow citizens who he thought were Arabs. I guess it's fortunate he didn't run into any Roman Catholic nuns, he'd have gunned them down too, for wearing some cloth over their heads.
      Honestly, the greatest regret, after the death of a man who caused no man, woman or child harm, is that his death sentence was reduced.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Jimmy G

      Wzrd1, sometimes you make a good point. Unfortunately this seems rare as you appear to post many things unthinkingly.
      I often wonder what good it does to imprison a criminal for life. It would make more sense to kill the criminal if there is no hope of release. To waste money for years in some misguided attempt to "show mercy" doesn't make sense when prison is a form of torture. Torture is not mercy and accomplishes nothing but the degradation of the ones doing the torturing.
      Death is merciful compared to a life sentence.
      And if they are mentally insane without hope of being healed, then death is also mercy for them. Unending madness is surely torture just like a life sentence in prison.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Premjith

      I am a Hindu. But I have been lucky to have some Sikh friends. As far as I understand them, they are all fun loving, peace-loving people with so much generosity in their hearts! If you are in danger, if you see a Sikh guy around, he is gonna help you if he noticed you in danger no matter who you are! You can take my word for that. I knew it is one of the so called values that is instilled in these people from their childhood itself.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Indian Hindu

      Sikhs are lions. They are the bravest of the brave in the Indian army. Proud of the Sikhs.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  16. George

    Internally he is a racist and hateful man who used 9/11 as an excuse to carry out his mind's desire. The Tea Party would love him.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • csnord

      Childish, irrelevant, and dead wrong. A liberal trifecta. The Democrats would be so proud of you!

      September 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Get-it-right-in-2012

      George... you are hateful as much as this man. You hate the Tea Party.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • WilR

      Sadly I suspect that you are right. I don't understand why the Tea Party (especially the AZ branch) spews so much hatred towards their fellow Americans whose only offense is to dare to hold a different opinion than they do. Rational Americans need to keep an eye on the actions (instead of the words) of the tea party lest the tragedy that befell German society leading up to WWII occur here. Hard economic times allow political cancers to take root.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • The First Jeff

      People act so offended, but the reality is, this man would have been a Tea Party member, and we all know it.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • James

      "People act so offended, but the reality is, this man would have been a Tea Party member, and we all know it."

      How do we all know it...people come in all shapes and forms and develop opinion's in different ways. Because you physically aren't or dont know this person its pretty hard for you to say this cause of so many political parties available to choose from here in the united states... But ya keep thinking that your party is better than the rest people like you who are ruining this country. Cool kids don't state whose cool but i guess thats the way you want to do it...Good luck we look down upon you.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • George

      Tea Baggers aren't political party members...they're just a buncha hateful people who are absolutely TICKED OFF that a black man (omg...how dare) is the President and they masked the disdain using Deficits as an excuse.

      I didn't hear about the Tea Baggers when George Bush put two wars, tax cuts for the rich on a layaway plan then bailed on the check leaving trillions of debt...while playing hide and seek with Osama for 7 years.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • JuJu Bee

      Really? That's your contribution to this string?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  17. PSR

    I appreciate that this article is published; we all need more knowledge about all religions. This will go long way in reducing conflicts and tensions. Thanks you.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I've learned quite a bit about many religions during my many years of travel with the military.
      Add to that, being born and raised here in the US, with its rich religious diversity.
      My father's primary physician, a Sikh. My father's cardiologist, a Sikh. The cheapest place in the county for gasoline, a gas station owned and operated by a handful of Sikhs. One of our contracted officers for one of my bases overseas, a Sikh. Overall, very nice people!

      September 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  18. Kaur

    Hey you might want to look at your history, this country belongs to Native Americans and they are living on reserves because they were robbed of their land.
    Who are you to say who belongs where? Correct me if I'm wrong, Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City Bomber), Ted Bundy, John Allen Muhammad AKA John Allen Williams .....that list is very very long......

    September 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      First, Native Americans were held on RESERVATIONS, not on reserves.
      Second, that was long, long, long ago.
      But, I was born here, nearly 50 years ago. I was raised here. I also spent over 27 years defending this nation.
      I also have a bit of Cherokee in my, my wife at 10% Cherokee.
      But, the singular fact remains. The Native Americans are NO LONGER REQUIRED to remain on reservations, but they lose the welfare and land rights on those reservations if they leave. And we are here now.
      Unlike some, I do not hold for the corruption of blood. A concept that seems alive and well in this once great nation.
      Meanwhile, your post is irrelevant to the story.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • SSampson

      And growing every day....

      In the US every year around 10,000 plus people are murdered with firearms..... On 9/11 3000 people were killed (horribly killed granted – and at once) –

      Since 9/11 the murder rate WITH firearms has risen – over 4600 have died in combat (another 1200 war related deaths) and over 41000 were wounded – many with permenant injuries..... This does not include the mental illness rates......

      Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died also (from all causes.... but civilians nonetheless)

      I don't know what to make of these numbers myself – I understand the national impact of the 9/11 tragedy – but shouldn't we be focusing on reducing death??? How can we yell at others for killing 3000 of us when we kill over 3 times that amount ourselves every year??? How can we justify 3000 deaths with 4500 more??? – I don't have the answer – I just don't get it....

      September 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • csnord

      The Germans, French, English, Mexicans, Peruvians, Spanish, Brazilians, Australians, Persians, Arabs, New Zelanders, Canadian and many others are living on lands previously occupied by cultures that were subsequently conquered and assimilated. What's your point? That is just basic human history. The only mistake the European invaders of the US made was to not integrate the Indian cultures completely.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Jimmy G

      Considering how racist everyone was in the old days, it is no surprise that integration was extremely rare back then.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  19. Alex

    the worthless redneck killer should be executed and done with it .

    September 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  20. Leigh

    Wow. An awful lot of hate in these comments. Extremists come in every variety you can think of–every race, religion and nationality. They always have, and they always will, but not everyone of any specfic group is an extremist.

    My neighbors on one side are Catholic. Nice folks. My neighbors across the street are Muslim. Nice folks. So are my black neighbors, white neighbors and Hispanic neighbors (no Asian neighbors yet). And until they prove themselves otherwise, I will continue to think of them as "nice folks." Let's see ... It's been 20 years now and counting. Still nice folks.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Nord

      Sounds like you're the bad one. Probably have bodies in yer back yard or somethin.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • That Guy

      I was feeling a bit disturbed by some of the comments that other people made here, but when I read your's, I felt pretty good. It's really nice to find a person who doesn't hate everyone that is the slightest bit different from themselves. 🙂

      September 15, 2011 at 8:52 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.