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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. Reality

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    How does this relate to the shooting at the Sikh temple? The global 24/7 acts of koranic-driven terror have sensitized many to the point that they are blinded by anything that remotely reminds them of Islam. There are easy solutions to this and analogous religious-based hatred and intolerance. These easy, peaceful solutions are available upon written request.

    August 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  2. SImran Singh

    Why is everyone trying to teach other about Sikhs and Hindus? Its kind of irrelavent that people who died were sikhs – could have been anyone for that reason – The point is inoccent people died at a hand of some crazy man...My heart goes out for the families and friends of the victims. Please STOP giving lessons in religion.

    August 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Will

      Innocent people died because some crakker red neck assumed that Sikhs are Muslims because they have brown skin, have foreign-sounding names, and wear turbans. The exact same sort of logic that they use to claim President Obama's a Muslim even though he's been a practicing Protestant Christian for decades.

      They (inbred crakker southerners and southerner-wannabe's like this knucklehead) should be rounded up and stuck in FEMA detention camps.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  3. stephanurus

    I don't personally know any Sikhs, but my heart goes out to their community in this time of tragedy.

    August 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  4. Maninder Jit Singh

    Hello Everyone,

    I am a sikh and as per my knowledge goes... yes, it is true that the Sikh religion evolved from Hindus. Within Hindus a warrior community was formed to fight against moghuls and they were identified as sikhs. I being a Sikh do not hold any grudges against any community or religion. No religion teaches to kill another human being, our fight is against terrorism. 9/11 , Operation Blue Star, Wisconsin Massacre ...all these unfortunate happenings were lead by corrupt minds. God is one...I don't think so that he has a color ,name or religion. If we say that Jesus is the only god then do all non Christian countries have no God and..... what about Animals...who is their god? Hindus,Muslims,Buddhists , Bhai's, Jainis...these all are different faiths...we know god by different names, we worship him in different languages but he is still one...its just like many synonyms for a single word. We all are previledged and educated people...lets not fight among ourselves but terrorism which has no religion.

    August 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  5. Truth

    This is so ironical for a community or religion which was formed to fight against muslims in middle ages, are now attacked on being mis-identified as muslims. Sikhs are originated from hindus. It was tradition in India (esp. Punjab) that the elder son of a Hindu home will become Sikh, a warrior, to fight against Muslims of that time who used to commit atrocities on Hindus and force them for conversion. Sikhs and Hindus remain as brothers till today except one incident when Congress party of India played politics and tried to divide Hindus and Sikhs. Congress, a party who appease Muslims in India committed lot of atrocities on Sikhs. Sikhs and Hindus go freely in each other's religious places and even inter-marry. There were Sikhs in Punjab, Rajputs (hindus) in Rajasthan and Marathas(Hindus) in Maharashtra who fought against Muslims. India is the only country who remained largely unconverted whereas every other country became Muslims majority where Islam invaded (by massacring and killing and they converted by swords). Unfortunately even in India some people could not stand and converted to Islam, who are muslims in present Indian subcontinent. Another irony is that converted Muslims are now hates the religion they are converted from and celebrate the religion who did atrocities on them and forced them into conversion. Rest in peace to all people who died in this horrible horrible incident.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • grand058

      annd largely false, sounds like you got many of your facts from a crazy youtube video

      August 7, 2012 at 2:56 am |
  6. chicagoan

    REALLY GUYS.... THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT TIME TO TALK RELIGION AND PROVE WHO IS BETTER!!!
    Grow up and focus on the issue at hand.. Innocent people lost their lives because of some NUT JOB.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Satan

      You mean Christian terrorist...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  7. lhmlhm44

    Any educated person knows that Sikh's are a peace loving people. Just because they look different than "us" does not mean they are evil or bad. The thought that someone would so senselessly attack them is horrific. Just because the shooter was what one would consider a "traditional American" more Americans need to step up and start condemning these attacks as "Acts of Terrorism" and treat these people the same way we would treat non-home grown terrorists. This country should take these acts very seriously as we don't want be cast as a society that tolerates these types of hateful crimes.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  8. palintwit

    It's a safe bet the shooter owned a copy of Sarah Palin's infamous 'crosshairs' poster.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  9. petemg

    Does it matter what religion a person is. What matters is the fact that we are all human beings. When a person needs help does he ask the would be helper what religion he is. When you are willing to help another do you ask what religion they are. Many people who are atheists practice qualities of a human being who is willing to help. In my belief Jesus did not come to the earth to be as man to persecute people. Jesus came as man to show man that he can do good. Let us not make this a war on religion. What is going on now is good against evil. Stop and at least have compassion on your fellow man. Remember you may one day be in need of help, will you turn down help because of their religion or lack there of.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  10. Awkward Situations

    Former Sikh turned Atheist here.

    I feel really bad for the community because everyone I know from the Gurdwara is really nice and friendly. I like to think of the older men as Indian Santa Claus because they tend to be rather jolly.

    I'll be at the Gurdwara near 51st and the 101 in Arizona if anybody wants to stop by for some tea (chai) and lunch after the service! Who knows, you might run into your doctor there! Get it? lol.

    Don't want to get shot though. But I guess I'll risk it. Cheers.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:37 am |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    First, my heartfelt sympathy to the relatives of the victims.

    The gunman has commited an evil crime, and will be punished according to his guilt.

    I have heard Obama had said the Sikh would belong to the American "family". I think Obama should not make such statements. A state is not a family but an administrative structure which allows extremly different people to live together on a certain level of tolerance. However, this level can never be the level of close friendship between relatives.

    Still, America has got a Christian culture. It needs no proof that Christian culture and Sikh culture don't fit together perfectly. Nobody should try to unite such distinct cultures. Somebody who ignores natural conditions will face damage. Don't try to unite what is totally distinct.

    It sounds so nice when Obama says family but he makes a great mistake. He implies that it would not matter what exactly you believe, main thing you believe anything. That is not good.

    Obama should be convinced of his personal faith but about all the other beliefs he should simply say nothing, excepted that every citizens of America is expected to live a life of love, righteousness and virtue.

    I myself am a Protestant, and I believe in Jesus Christ. I am convinced that Christianity is the real faith, but assumed Obama had the same faith like me, I would not expect him to prefer the Protestants. He shall confess his own faith honestly, but should the citizens only require to be people of love, righteousness and virtue.

    In a word, freedom of religion is a very good achievement of the modern world, but it is not good to lump together all religions. Citizens of a state should be allowed to prefer (if they want) the one religion which causes love, righteousness and virtue, yet nobody can be forced to do that. Also it should be allowed to say that religions which promote bigotry and fanaticism cannot be very advanced. A reasonable man will prefer a faith which causes love which is independent from color, faith, nationality, status, etc. of the neighbour.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 6, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • vasya

      religion is not healthy to anybody.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!#

      August 6, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  13. Cool Jat

    To all those who think Sikhism is an off shot of Hinduism, let us get our facts right.

    Sikhism is not Hinduism. Sikhism in monotheistic and Hinduism is polytheistic.

    Sikhs do not worship of 330 million deities that are worshipped as Gods by Hindus. Sikhism does not believe in Caste System that is prevalent among Hindus. Sikhism was started as a simple and easiest way to achieve unity with the true timeless formless God (Akal Purakh) bypassing the pseudo formless God (Kal – worshipped by Hindus in the Atharva Veda and is the origin of Hinduism – a way of living that bogs/traps a soul down on the physical plane with rituals and practices).

    Sikhism (Discipleship) is a devotional path that uses the tools of meditations (bhakti) especially the method of Five Primal Sounds (Panch Shabad) to achieve unity with the Timeless (Akal). Anyone can become a Sikh (Disciple) of the True Guru. Sikhi is not confined to people born in Sikhism. Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others can become Sikhs when the realize the true nature of the creation and strive to obtain union with God. To say Sikhism is an offshoot of Hinduism smirks of ignorance which is prevalent among Hindus who are misguided by Vedas and Brahmins (Creation of the Kal – Time worshipped as God – who has trapped us all in the Brahmand with rituals and boons).

    To all the Hindus reading, please wake up. Realize the trap and strive to get our of your false rituals and join the path of devotion to the real God. A simple read of the Adi Granth will make you realize the truth (It will also explain why Sikhism is not Hinduism). It is a collection of inspiring couplets from true devotees including Saint Kabir. If nothing else heed the advice of Saint Kabir (Please read the Anurag Sagar to realize what the truth is) who in pretty much exhorts the devotees to give up false pretenses and rituals and develop true devotion to the true God (Akal Purakh)

    August 6, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Lucas Hall

      Where is your respect for others? Where is your respect for diferences in your fellow man? Is not kindness one of the core tenets of the faith? It is unfortunate that you have typed these words, but I respect your right ti believe them, even if I would think they dismay many in the faith.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Infinite

      You seem to be quite ignorant about Hinduism, which is the primary proponent of Monism, where the eternal infinite is the divine basis for everything. The Rigveda, which is several thousand years older than Sikhism, speaks of the One being-non-being that 'breathed without breath'. Indeed, Sikhism essentially preaches selected elements of Hindusim as a new religion. Here is an extract from page 988 of Guru Granth Sahib:

      Blessed, blessed is that flute which the Lord plays.
      The sweet, sweet unstruck sound current sings forth.

      Blessed, blessed is the wool of the sheep;
      blessed, blessed is the blanket worn by Krishna.

      Blessed, blessed are you, O mother Dayvakee;
      into your home the Lord was born.

      Blessed, blessed are the forests of Brindaaban;
      the Supreme Lord plays there.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • rsmnr

      Sardarji,

      All your so called knowledge about Sikhism is a waste, because you have not learnt to respect other religions. Also your bigotry is a big hurdle in your salvation. Learn to be compassionate. Dont try to glorify your religion at the expense of other religions.

      August 6, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Singh

      You are giving Sikhs a bad name, it is not right to ridicule others' beliefs. The reason the Golden Temple has four doors is because all religions are welcome. Sikhism is a universal philosophy that doesn't revolve around rituals. Glorifying one's religion is like rooting for a team so others will join, which is the opposite of what you should be doing. Instead, let others believe what they want to and what makes them happy, setting their minds at ease. I consider myself a Sikh and do not believe in God, now this may offend many but that just shows how side-tracked the purpose of religion has become. It is to create good within man, not to ostracize others so you look glorious. This isn't about our differences, instead this is about being Americans. Sure, many people may not like the fact that other's have a different belief system (which was probably the cause of this act of domestic terrorism), but that doesn't mean you act like Sikhism the one and only way.

      August 6, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • sandeep singh

      What kind of jat are you? Do you know that peas are grown on trees and and potatoes under water the best time to reap the crop of chicken is early spring.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Tim

      Dude,

      Don't put other religions down, be tolerant please.... you should be out of all people, jerk

      August 6, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • saurov

      My friend, you do not know anything about Hinduism. Read the Vedanta Sutra by Adi Shankaracharya and the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the first Jagat Guru, on Advaitya Vedanta. Spiritual growth in Hinduism happens is stages ending in abslolute monsim, advaitya. The Karma kanda part of the vedas dealing in ritualism has been absolutely rejected in the Upanishads dealing with Jnana yoga. Please brush up your knowledge before reaching conclusion on anything. Please accept my condolence for the tragic murders in the Gurudwara, I vist Gurudwara's frequently for Prasad. Thanks, Sauovb@gmail.com

      August 6, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • anonymous

      I am a Sikh, and let me tell you that even though caste isn't supposed to be a part of Sikhism, IT IS. Look at your name, it says Jat in it. What do you have that as part of your name if you claim Sikhism doesn't believe in caste? People who believe in Sikhism yet believe in caste such as Jats, Rajputs, Bappes, Chumars, etc... ARE NOT SIKHS, they are people who don't know what they are supposed to believe in. SAD...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • SImran Singh

      What does JAT at the end of your name mean bawle? Just to counter your comment, CAST system does exist in Sikhism. Its not explicitly stated in the holy book, but I use to go to my school in a rickshaw that was pulled by 'chamaar' sikh.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  14. Reality

    Some history:

    "Ethnic cleansing of Hindus and Sikhs by Muslims led to a major exodus of those communities from Pakistan into India; conversely Muslims in the Indian territory were subject to the same ethnic cleansing at the hands of Sikhs and Hindus and forced migration to Pakistan."

    August 6, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  15. atrociATHEIST

    Nobody does like atheists!

    August 6, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Umbren

      And apparently you never liked school either...
      What does atheism has to do with this terrible crime?

      August 6, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  16. Papan

    This is an unfortunate event. Sikhs are in general good people; however, I would not forget the fact that they gunned down late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. As with any other religion, Sikhism also has some problems - they are required to keep weapons with them. So lets not pretend everything is peaceful with Sikhism. But regardless, it's an unfortunate event - US politicians need to show some balls and stand up against NRA. This gun culture is ancient, does not have any relevance to modern day society and needs to be banned, now!

    August 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • sam

      hey papan get ur facts straight..do u know what indra gandhi did..she sent army to all the gurudwaras in india and sent them to kill people.. thts why we killed her..n the knife we keep with us is to protect ourselves and other innocent human beings for the past 500 years.so please read about sikh history and 1984 massacre before you open your ignorant mouth

      August 6, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Cdn

      Why even discuss who the Sikhs are? If you want to educate yourself on the Sikhs, then go read a book. The fact of the matter is that someone went into the Gurdwara and MURDERED innocent people. As to the "weapon" the Sikhs wear, its called a "Kirpan". I have never heard or read of a Sikh, drawing his Kirpan and killing a bunch of innocent people.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Nav Singh

      Stop spreading false propaganda, Indira Ghandi was responsible for the attack on the holiest place of Sikhs the Golden Temple, thousands of Sikhs were killed because of her. She deserved to die & if she didn't she would have continued to cause mayhem. Yes Sikhs do carry weapons, it is part of our Guru's philosophy. It doesn't mean were violent, it means we stand up to injustice and protect others. Its a symbol of peace over hate, its a reminder of power of god, its a symbol of our Guru's holy words that fight our negative energies as ego, lust, anger, attachment, greed, etc. Sikhism has a very profound deep relationship with weapons, if Sikhs did not pick up the weapons, our religion would have been wiped off the face of the earth. So yes, Sikhs do wear a mini dagger called a Kiran, and we are proud of it.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Umbren

      Every religion has blood on their hands, even Christians.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Portland tony

      All Sikhs did not kill Indira Ghandi as all Americans did not kill bin Laden.....and you don't mention that there are 88 firearms for every man, woman and child in the US. Compare that to the dagger carrying Sikhs!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Portland tony

      That is 88 firearms for every 100 man........

      August 6, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • saurov

      You are a fool to associate the killing of Indira Gandhi with a community. Rajiv Gandhi was killed by the LTTE. So would you pinpoint the Tamilians in the same the way? Please grow up man.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  17. sutinder

    Sikhs are neither Hindu nor Muslim. They are a distinct revealed separate religion. It is not an off shoot of any other religion. It would be wise to learn about Sikhism before posting misleading comments here.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Papan

      you need to get facts straight - it's an offshoot of hinduism.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • proud half sikh

      u should get ur facts right..elder son of a hindu families was given 5 identifications...who were called Sikhs and they were suppose to protect hindus from mughals who were doing atrocities or forcing them to converts...so, yes sikhism comes from hindu with little variations in religious book...

      August 6, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Curious

      If a Christian converts to Hinduism, would you call it hindu as off shoot of Christianity? There were not many christians when sikhism was started, and hindus were majority at that time. They converted to sikh believes because they wanted equal rights. Sikhism was not to protect hindus in India or fight against muslims (first brick laid to build golden temple was by muslim person)...Sikhs fight against injustice and protect less fortunate..and, it doesn't matter where it is.

      August 6, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Kaamdevta

      To all those ignorant people - Guru Nanak Dev Jee was born on 15 April 1469 into a Hindu Khatri family in the village of Rāi Bhōi dī Talwandī, now called Nankana Sahib, His father was Kalayan Das Mehta, also known as Mehta Kalu, and his mother was Mata Tripta ji. They were Hindus belonging to the Vedic Kshatri (Khatri) caste. Guru ji had an older sister called Bebey Nanki,
      This is not the time to fight among our self but to unite. Can't we we jut get alone with each on this tragic news instead of proving your ignorance about Sikhism.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  18. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Sikhism is an off shoot of Hindu religion, and was specifically formed to combat the menace of maruding Islamic rulers who were plundering India, killing & converting millions in the process.

    The Skihs even though are a minority even in India, they remain till this day the most devoted at safeguarding the homeland from foreign aggression.

    No wonder they are over represented to the tune of 3:1 (when viewed as a proportion of their total population) in the Indian armed forces, and remain in large numbers in foreign forces too incl. right here in the US. Many of them are indistinguishable as they happen to be clean shaven, especially in the light of the 9/11 events.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • singh

      SIKHISM IS AN OFFSHOOT OF HINDUISM...... Could you give me definition of hindu first....who are hindus...even your this name HIndu is not in any of your religious books....it is given by people of afghan side.....you dont have any set of beliefs.... there are thousands of gods in your religion and more created every day.... If Sikhism is an offshoot of Hinduism then it must have incorporated some basic principles of Hinduism one of which is believe in thousands of Gods, idol worship, dividing the society into four sections as written in your veds, give sacrifices of animals and even also human beings(written in your holy scriptures called Veds) which Sikhism is totally against. You have three Gods which according to you guys is One who created this world, one who is maintaing it and last one is who is destroyer. How this can be possible. Go tell any other person in this world and they gonna laugh on your set of theories. Just see their religious serials say Ramayan you will find may proofs what has been written here. Someone is born from some blood which is hidden inside earth whereas another guy is born from blood of fighting between their devtas(the good lords) and dushts(the bad lords) how can be this possibe when everybody knnows that a child can be born from mothers womb. Then they concept of paradise where one goes after death. Sikhs dont believe in these concepts and your fake rituals. Yaa Sikhs saved you Hindus and also Muslims or any person who asked for whenever they needed. One can figure out from above comments where some hindus are saying Sikhs are there to protect Hindus so one can easily figure out why they have been ruled for more than 1000 years because they dont have courage and guts to stand against tyranny and injustice. Infact they started marrying mughals so that they can save their empires. Alike Hindus have perpetrated crimes against Sikhs and Gurus because they know that their religion is in danger because they know that Sikh principles and values are totally against tyrannical nature of so called hinduism which is uplifting the society, uniting them by eroding the walls of low society and high society concept which is written in Hindu scriptures. Anybody is welcome to read Guru Granth Sahib and also the veds and smritis of hindus and one can figure out where they stand and where we stand.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • patel

      To Singh and Amit: what are you both talking about now,,,this is not the time to show your knowledge of your religion or any stupid talk about religion. The fact is innocent people are killed, on the name of religion. No matter who are they Hindus or sikhs, or no matter which is better hinduism or sikhism...But one thing is more better is to pray for those who died and comfort for their families, Let educate people about our religion so no innocent got killed like this. So please use your knowledge in the right way so everyone get benefit from there...Or there is no use of your religion.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • SImran Singh

      This is a response to "SINGH" who seems really upset about "Sikhism being a part of Hinduism" – All the Gurus you had were originally Hindus and then they started a new religion to fight moghules. Sikhism is actually based on Hindu framework.

      1/ The word GOD stands for Generator.Operator and Destroyer (GOD). – so its not just hindus = Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh.
      2/ In every kirtaan I hear name of Ram and Krishna.
      3/ OMkar originated from Hinduism
      4/ Gurudwaras are very similar to Mandirs

      There is no difference between Hindus and Sikhs.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  19. citizen bob

    Very sad. My sincere condolences. I and my family wish peace to the friends and families of that tragedy.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  20. Everett Wallace

    the only thing these indonesions have to offer is CONDEMNATION. religion you gotta hate it.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Otto Blauboer

      Two simple questions: what have the inonisions to do with the sikhs or this horrible event? Second question: who offers here condemnation? Evert Wallace, the US killer or the sikhs? It would help if we can start thinking again.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • merridee

      Those people are not Indonesians. Where on earth did you pick that up? Never mind, actually. Your ignorance is incurable.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:30 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.