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August 5th, 2012
06:20 PM ET

Explainer: Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN)– Sikhism, the world's fifth most popular religion, is a monotheistic faith that believes in equality and service to others, Sikh officials say.

"Everyone is the same," says Raghunandan Johar, president of the Guru Nanak Mission of Atlanta. "There is no distinction, no caste system."

Navdeep Singh, a policy adviser to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, says Sikhs believe in freedom of religion, community service and inclusiveness.

At temples, or gurdwaras, where Sikhs hold services, everyone is welcome.

"You can come and be equal," he says.

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

Doing good deeds is important for you to be with God after death, Johar says. Sikhs believe that if you don't live a life full of good deeds you will be reborn and repeat the circle of life and death.

There are 25 million Sikhs around the world, Singh says, about 700,000 of which live in the United States. Most Sikhs are in India.

Sikhs do not have a particular day of worship, he says, but due to the American work week, Sunday is a popular day for services. Johar says his gurdwara has formal services on Wednesdays and Fridays, in addition to Sundays.

At a typical gurdwara, the doors open up at 6 a.m. for prayers. A formal service includes the singing of hymns and a team of leaders who have studied the faith reciting from the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy scriptures. That book, more than 1,400 pages long, includes writings from Sikhism's 10 gurus as well as writers from other religions.

It is an example of Sikhism's inclusiveness, Johar says.

"There is not a single word of hate in it," he adds.

At the end of the service, congregants pray for the "well-being of the world" then head to the langar, the community kitchen that serves meals for anyone who wants one.

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

"(Founder) Guru Nanak said that if you want to meet God, serve the poor people," Johar says.

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.

The first gurdwara in the United States was built 100 years ago in California, Singh says.

Most Sikh men don't cut their hair and wear turbans and beards. 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.

Sikhism emerged more than 500 years ago in Punjab, in what is now India. It was founded by Guru Nanak, a non-practicing Hindu who was against rituals and praying to idols.

"He received a revelation," Johar says.

Guru Nanak taught a message of love and that all religions were good.

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"If you are Hindu, he said be a good Hindu," Johar says. "If you are Muslim, be a good Muslim. If you are Christian, be a good Christian."

Sikhs, he says, are taught two other important things in addition to serving others and serving God: Work hard and never beg.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Belief • Houses of worship • Religious violence • Sikh

soundoff (1,169 Responses)
  1. Volsocal

    Sorry for the repost, but I don't see it...

    Such a sweet article about the Sikhs. They did leave out this: In 1985, an Air India 747 was bombed and 280 of Canadians were among the 329 dead. "Canadian law enforcement determined that the main suspects in the bombing were members of the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa and other related groups based in Canada".

    August 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Volsocal

      To Michael, Well, and really –

      My main point is bias in the press. Sikhs are not as angelic as the article would lead a young reader to believe. But to your comments, it is not just blaming the many for the deeds of a few. The downed airliner is just one of many examples of Sikh violence against innocent civilians that I could cite. The Sikh organizations in Detroit and elsewhare funnel money to the militant wings of their organizations. Knowingly? I don't know. I'm not justifying the attack today, but let's not rewrite history.

      As for the normalization argument, I know of no large American home grown organization that uses murder of innocent people as a political tool.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • S

      @ VOLSOCAL. Yes you do. ThE US amry. Grow up. Dont think americans are a bunch of angels. You hid your acts of terrorism by calling it a war on terrorists when your amries have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Greg

      With your logic anytime christian gets murdered, we shouldn't mourn their death like a human being but blame them for any crime christian committed. Lets not forget the genocide of the native american , Crusades, or even this attack!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • photogrrl

      and Tim McVeigh was a white supposedly CHRISTIAN AMERICAN...who killed 168 of his fellow Americans in Oklahoma City...and your point is ??? And the Aurora shooter was active in his church (Presbyterian?) as a youth...so what?

      The truth is, there are extremists in every religion in the world. There are even atheist extremists. There are also good people in all religions who are NOT extremists and believe in love, peace, and respect.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  2. A

    Guru Nanak–a non-practicing Hindu? Pray, tell, what IS a practicing Hindu?

    August 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      A Practicing Hindu is one who:

      – divides people up into castes, lower castes and upper castes (i.e. racial discrimination)
      – burns to death the widow of the husband if the later dies unexpectedly
      – secretly goes to moslem restaurants and eats beef while openly promoting vegeterianism

      August 6, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Vick

      That's just ignorant A – I don't think your christian church teaches intolerance useless biggot!

      August 7, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • Vick

      Sikhism was created to Protect us from uneducated People like Biraq – because as usual Muslim extremists Like this Fellow Biraq are preaching hatred and Lies about Hindu Indians – Here is the reality this feeble minded person is not really honestly telling you about:

      -Sikhism was created to protect India from Muslim Barbarian Invaders (Mughals)who killed millions of Sikhs and Hindus in the 15th century
      -In the 1940's muslims in India were not satisfied after the Mughal Invasion they wanted to separate india forced Indian women to convert to Islam and if they didn't they would Burn them alive – You see it was and still is Indian Muslim men that burn their wives or those being influenced by muslim that live in India (See honor killings Shafia family)
      Hinduism does say to avoid Beef because cows give us milk and it is not respectful to kill an animal that gives milk – Some Hindus are aware now that dairy cattle are not slaughtered so education in this manner has allowed us to embrace beef -but we will not embrace racist endoctrines like that of this Biraq fellow.
      Yes yes to world Peace and no to uneducated extremism like Biraq.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:14 am |
  3. Indian

    Guys,
    There are some anti-Indians, pretending to be hindus, in this forum saying bad things about sikhs. Hindus never had religious conflicts with sikhs. Sikkism is Indian religion and sikhs were part of Indian culture and heritage. At this grevious moment please show some decency and pray for those lost souls. Do not say, hear or do bad things. It is only going to spoil your mind and yourself.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  4. Blake.

    Sikhism never claims to be superior than other religions. It has a history of protectiong other religions and innocents and respect all religion. Still it has it's own unique ideology in religious field.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Vick

      Blake is 100% right – Sikhism is a tolerant culture – They were created to protect India from Muslim Invaders in the 15th Century – They will always be a special part of Indian Culture – speaking as a Hindu myself – There was Some Sikh terrorist groups that did and still do agitate this Paternal Bond who are trouble makers – called Akali Dal – Or khalistan Freedom fighters who have caused division because they are funded by other terrorist organizations – but those individuals don't represent the real Peaceful Sikh Culture I know – So nay to hatred and yes to Peace.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  5. Arjun

    Sikh,

    Paaji, sikh jokes were started by Mughals because of midnight raids by Sikhs. Nort Indians also joke about Marwadis and tamils. Sikhs saved a lot of Maratha women being carried away by Abdali. Guru Tegh Bahadur gave his life to save Kashmiri pandits. Sikhs are an integral part of India, but the sikhs in Canada and the US are crackpots who support
    Babbar Khalsa and sell Bhindranwal posters.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Indian

      Guys,
      There are some anti-Indians, pretending to be hindus, in this forum saying bad things about sikhs. Hindus never had religious conflicts with sikhs. Sikkism is Indian religion and sikhs were part of Indian culture and heritage. At this grevious moment please show some decency and pray for those lost souls. Do not say, hear or do bad things. It is only going to spoil your mind and yourself.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • A Sikh

      Arjun,

      You just called me a crackpot because I am a Sikh and I live in US. Btw, there is another side of the Story about Bhindrawala as well, but since I am crackpot I wouldn't ask you to go try to understand that. All I can tell you is that the current government and set of politicians in India are so shrewd that they will keep fooling the general public be it putting a puppet prime minister, or suppressing and controlling the media in India and hiding all their dirty deeds.

      All I can tell you is that entire India only knows about the attack on Golden Temple in 1984, but how many Bhindrawalas were there in the rest of the punjab in other Gurudwaras? I don't need any stories from the media, I witnessed these things first hand. I remember counting the bullet holes in the Gurudwara where I used to go every single day and I can tell you first hand that I had not a single person equipped with weapons there. However the Indian government at that time choose a time of attack when thousands of pilgrims were visiting the Gurdwaras all over Punjab. All the media was highly censored so the rest of the public in India does not know anything about the truth and the ones that do know the truth will be labeled as crackpots (of course).

      Regards,
      A Sikh

      August 6, 2012 at 4:31 am |
    • Jane2u

      To A Sikh,
      First of all, there was terrorism in Punjab -fuelled and funded by Pakistan who tried to raise an uprising in Sikhs to form Khalistan. There were bomb blasts, gun attacks,etc on army and other forces. My father served in Bhatinda in the Defence services when I was a kid there so please dont tell me that these people never had arms and all the defence officers were killed by barbed words and insults rather than actual weapons.

      There were terrorists hiding in Golden temple -the cowards should not have gone to a holy place of worship to take refuge. but when it came to their own lives, they were willing to desecrate a holy place and bring weapons of destruction and death there. What the Indian Army did is the only thing possible to have been done at that time. Do you think the American forces would have acted any different?
      The Indian government at that time did not believe in appeasement of any religious minorities like it does now.

      August 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Rob

      And you have seen this, here in the US? A what poster? And a what was that? I must have missed them.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Vick

      Both Arjun and A Sikh have valid arguements – but both don't know all the facts
      Arjun-Bhai – All Sikhs in North America are not Pro-kaalistan militants – there are some who are very smart educated and peace loving
      A Sikh- brother – one thing – You know there were Akali Supporters hiding in the Temple – but some of these supporters were hiding in other Gurdwaras bullying h followers with deth treats if they spoke up – the army individuals didn't know this there under the impression that they were being harbored alot of the time – Bad Intel leads to Bad and trajic errors as I've spoken to many army people about – and those who do it and aren't army people are jerks.

      All educated people know...It's terror supported terrorists that cause all the problems.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  6. Jimmy

    NeelaKandan,

    You are a sad ass. Probably a RSS hindu extremist. It is people like you who should be have been present in the temple when the event took place. You definition of sikhism them would have been different.

    Did you mention the violence of 1984 anti-sikh riots? The most inhumane riots and the perpetrators were never punished. This world has plenty of space for all religions and faiths to prosper. DO NOT spread incorrect information about any community. We all know your dirty deeds and filthy mission.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Indian

      I am sure you are from pakistan. You are not wasting any time to spite venom even at this moment. What happen during the riot is a result of political fall out. Many hindus and Muslims at time did give shelter to sikhs. Instead of wasting your time go and save your country.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • M

      Jimmy

      What happened at Golden temple was really bad? but why it happened. Because terrorists were hiding in the temple. They were funded by Pakistan and killing innocent people and then hiding in Golden Temple to get protection. So to eliminate those people the temple was attacked. They were not saints but they were terrorists.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  7. jibbag

    Why must there be debates on religious facts? Let history be history and let's try to focus on what has happened. What can we do to make sure this does not happen again? I am not an American Citizen, yet a Canadian citizen. How come America does not have laws against individuals buying or even selling guns. Many of these issues do have a chance to be avoided – instances like today, and even the Batman shootings..

    August 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  8. Volsocal

    Such a sweet article about the Sikhs. They did leave out this: In 1985, an Air India 747 was bombed and 280 of Canadians were among the 329 dead. "Canadian law enforcement determined that the main suspects in the bombing were members of the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa and other related groups based in Canada".

    August 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Michael

      America and our fellow Americans have a history of violence as well. Does this comfort the people of the Colorada shooting? What does that comment have to do with innocent people being gunned down? We cannot put everyone in the same category because of a few.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Well

      Nobody was found guilty my friend.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • really?

      Are you serious? You cannot typecast a section of the population because of the fanatic few. I hope your smugness flexing some racially based knowledge makes you feel. good The real issue is today's shooting.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Truth

      Volsocal – Canadian ruling for the trail was – the terror attack was state sponsored – Indian government did it. please look at the reservations of that flight.

      But the big question why we are discussing this here; what is the motive; please pray instead.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Peace on earth

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2hxQMW9dh0&w=640&h=360]
      Check this you tube people denied justice & you talk of Sikhs as terrorist what about Indian democracy organized genocide of Sikhs

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

      With your logic anytime a christian gets murdered, we shouldn't mourn their death like a human being but blame them for any crime any christian committed in the past. Lets not forget the genocide of the native american , Crusades, or even this attack!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Ingenious2

      Canadian Government launched an inquiry, every lead led to the Indian embassy and the study was eventually scrapped on flimsy grounds. The conclusion was it was a state sponsored terrorism act instigated by the Indian government.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Vick

      PEACE ON EARTH IS NOT TELLING THE FACTS...AKALI DAL EXTREMISTS WERE HIDING IN THE TEMPLE AND USED OTHER PILGRIMS AS SHEILDS AND FORCED THEM TO HARBOR THEM FROM THE ARMY -PEACE ON EARTH'S LACK OF FACTUAL KNOWLEDGE IS SUPPORTING THE KAALISTANI MILITANTS HIDING INSIDE – SURE THE ARMY COULD HAVE GOTTEN BETTER INTEL TO MINIMIZE RETALIATION – BUT NO-ONE CAN PREDICT THE ACTS OF DOMESTIC TERRORISTS – ARE YOU PREACHING HATRED TOWARDS INDIANS BECAUSE YOU LEFT THERE 'DEMOCRACY' IN OPEN INTERPRATATION WHEN INDIAN PEOPLE ARE TRING TO COPE WITH THIS AND OTHER ISSUES – BUT YOU FAIL TO MENTION PAKISTANI TALIBAN INVADING NORTHERN INDIA – ONE CAN ONLY ASSUME YOU ARE A ROGUE STATE SUPPORTER.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  9. Michael

    No matter the history, no one has the right to come into someone place of worship and gun down innocent people. My heart goes out to these people and they are in my prayers.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  10. Jerry

    All religions which originated in India–Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism-believe in peace and peaceful co existence. Says a lot about India and Indians. Respect.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  11. Gsingh

    Being a Sikh myself, i wanted to educate and correct my brothers and sister who are in this discussion. Our first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, born in a hindu family had always promoted equality for everyone during their time period and that is how sikhism begun. It begun with Guru Nanak Dev Ji preaching about equality and respect for everyone despite their caste or religion. Secondly our 10th Guru and his father( our 9th Guru) used to be well known and respected people when the Mughals were forcing hindu's and sikh's to cut their hair and become a muslim. That is when, all the hindu brothers and sisters came to our Guru's and asked them to help them from the Mughals who were at that time killing everyone who refused to convert into Islam. That is when our Guru's for their safety and for the safety of the thousands of people , started wearing kirpans ( religious daggers) to protect their brothers and sisters in need as defence against the Mughals. Since then, evey baptised sikh wears a kirpan, not because we want to scare people or we want to go hurt anyone, BUT because we want to defend people and ourselves if required. You would hardly see any sikh purpously taking their kirpans out in the middle of the street. Being a sikh myself, i havent heard or witnessed such a thing.

    So just to let you know we are not militants, we just wear kirpans as a symbol of defence not only to ourselves but also for everyone else around us despite their religion, color or caste.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Rich

      Every Sikh I've ever met has been among the kindest people I've known. Thank you for the info, from your atheist friend.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • PC3

      The Sikh are amazingly kind people; at least every one I have ever met. I'm sorry that some racist idiot caused the Sikh community such pain. Thank you for your post.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Indian

      Well said.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Joe Z

      If Sikhism practices equality why do they have an active caste system in place?

      August 6, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • sandeep singh

      Guru Nanak did not liked symbols that is why he took off his Janeu. Guru Gobind singh gave you a dagger and you guys have made it a ceremonial symbol. Understand Guru Gobind Singh's message and upgrade daggers to fire arms. Sikhs should end masse start applying permission to carry weapons so that these nut cases think before initiating attack on defenselss people singing praises to the formless, genderless, self encompassing one creator for all humanity. We are suppose to be fit and experienced in saving ourselves as well others. 2nd amendment affirms Guru Gobind Singh's order to carry weapons.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  12. vuv

    Sikh's have history of hate. they have killed thousands of hindu in the name of religion. it is not peaceful religion as they claim. Ask Indria Ghandi and victims of air india bombing how peaceful they are.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Desi

      I am not a sikh but i do understand that Indira Gandhi assassination and the events before or after was political issue rather religious problem.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • ChuckB

      Thousands? There has been violence between Sikhs and Hindus, yes, but neither group has clean hands.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • a human

      skhs do not have a history of hate. before indira gandhi was assasinated, she had ordered people to be killed at a gudwara in amristsar where there were a lot of innocent people that were killed for no reason. you don't seem to know about the racosm that they faced from gandhi's government

      August 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Crsystalclear008

      I am not a Sikh but I can tell you that it were the Sikhs who were the victims when PM Indira Gandhi was assasinated. She was killed by one sikh but how many innocent Sikh young, old were killed in the following rights....that was unfair and unnecessary. They fought against Muslims , British Rule. They are in large numbers in Indian Army/Navey etc. Indian PM is a Sikh. Stop finding faults in Sikh, look at your side can you be proud of that??

      August 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Maria

      So do Christians you idiot.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Indian

      Here goes another pakistani wasting no time to spit hatred. What happend during the riot is a political fall out. It is not a conflict between two communities. You can find sikhs living, happily, in all parts of India.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Greg

      Why would sikhs kill Hindus? Weren't they created to protect Hindus from muslim( which I think your are)?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Harsh Truth

      Did everyone forget when sikh extremists killed 38 innocent hindus selectively on a bus enroute to a hindu pilgrimage in 1987 ?
      I ask people from this peaceful Sikh religion preachers openly as why were they killed if Sikh religion preaches peace? Read this .....peaceful religion? Seriously?....The first guruNanak came from Hindu family & these sikhs killed their own innocent Hindus where their first Guru originated from???? If you want people to trust your religion a little bit, first start going to Churches,Hindu temples & Mosques t & start loving people from other religion & then people may start thinking good about you....otherwise.....God bless you !
      http://articles.philly.com/1987-07-07/news/26201526_1_punjab-khalistan-commando-force-sikh

      August 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  13. Jaidev

    Guru NANAK*

    August 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  14. Frank Mosey

    So sorry for a barbaric act of lunacy.
    Please know that sometimes bad things happen so that the good can come out. The seed must first die for a plant to thrive.
    After reading a few things about this group, it seems to me that the World needs to here more of your faith.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  15. Vivek

    Sikhs are among the bravest and most ethical people in this world. the entire Sikh faith is very syncretic and simple yet profound belief – in working hard, sharing the fruits of labor and remembering God without any discrimination. It is a pity that Americans do not realize and recognize such a faith and are killing them.
    Americans – if someone reads world history, Sikhs are the only people who fought and defeated Afghans. The Sikhs have stood solid like a bed rock of defense against muslim invasions in India. All Indians admire and are grateful to Sikhs! Ek Onkar!! (One God!)

    August 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • jayakumar

      Very true. But his truth has been often forgotten even among sikhs themselves. Indians everywhere have an inborn respect for sikhs. Sikhs are traditaionlly honest and hard working and very brave. As an Indian, I have always respected sikhs all my life. Our parents always used to say that they are the defenders of India, which they remain true to this day.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Varun

      Correct!

      A lot of people do not know that Sikihism came into existence as a rebellian against the atrocities committed by Isalmic invaders in India on Hindus. Sikhs were the bravest of Hindus and fought against the barbarian muslim invaders to ptotect Hindus from Islam..

      August 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • A Sikh

      Dear Vivek,

      It is not true at all that Americans are killing Sikhs. One single idiot filled with hate does not make up America. In my own experience I have found that Americans are the most open, accepting people of not only Sikhs but of other religions and cultures as well.

      As far as your comment "All Indians admire and are grateful to Sikhs!" is concerned, I wish this was true but it is not. Do you know how many Sardar (Sikh) jokes are cracked by people in India and Indian media? Unfortunately I can't even count.

      After 9/11 my friends' dad was shot dead in AZ, and guess what the President of the US himself made sure that the govt takes steps necessary so that it doesn't repeat again. But guess what in 1984 thousands of Sikhs were killed on the streets of Delhi and the mobs were backed by the Congress party leaders. Till date not a single person has been caught or prosecuted by the Indian government.

      Btw, It was an American policeman who put his life in danger today and killed the shooter, that is a true American and a true Hero. He did exactly what a true Sikh would have done. Thank god for such people!

      Regards,
      A Sikh

      August 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Indian

      To A Sikh,
      It is absolutely right that this just one persons insane act. I do believe that America is the most immigrant friendly nation in the world. On the same front, it is also not right to blame entire indian community for what happend during the riot. Even during that worst period people, be it hindus, muslims or cristians, took risk to save sikhs by giving shelter. What happened was a political fall out. Both parties were at fault. Public can not do any thing one there are riots. Current Prime minister himself is sikh and he is there for almost two terms. He had all the luxury to bring those culprits to justice.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  16. Karen

    You've presented an extemely biased opinion there about Sikhism, very 1980s. How is anything you've wrote going to help those hurting the most? It's views like yours that make me lose faith in humanity. Having said that looking at the actions of Sikhs in light of what's happened it restores my faith. So i'd like to put across my views and 'facts' Sikhs don't carry weapons it's called a Kirpaan, carry out some research into the significance of this before trying to brand it as a weapon. Your point about the male to female ratio I find that hugely offensive, Sikhism promotes equality through and through! I live in England and there is no epidemic of honour killings. Honour killings do not occur due to religion it's people. My heart goes out to all the families affected by this, it saddens me how people can be so ignorant and commit such crimes like this. A very sad day..

    August 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  17. toad

    Sikhs do seem openly interested in other faiths. A large number were at the Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal this morning. Those I've met have been quite devoted to their own faith. Very admirable people.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  18. Sad day

    Neelakandan

    Please don't spread misinformation. You are showing incredible ignorance. And today on such a tragic day for Sikh community in US, don't work with an hidden propaganda of maligning Sikhs without even doing a brief search on faith.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  19. b4bigbang

    I bought an old house back in January and paid a crew of Sikhs to re-pipe the whole house.
    I can't say enough about their work ethic. If you ever need work done and there are Sikhs available, hire them – you won't be disappointed!
    Btw, I'm not a Sikh – just an impressed WASP....

    August 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • foreigner

      some christian terrorist thought they were muslims.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  20. NeelaKandan

    Sikhism was a militant resistance movement that came up in the 15th century in the Punjab/Haryana region of India which is the North-Western states of India and also it includes the region of what is now called Pakistan. The whole region was the entry point of all invasions into India starting in the 11th century first by the Mongols (Central-Asia) and then followed by Mughals (muslim invaders).
    Hindusim is not a religion in its strictest terms like Christianity,Islam or Judaism. It has no founder or one holy book. It is a poly and pantheistic body of belief systems with origins as old as the civilization itself from which other 'religions' like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism sprang up. There was no 'unified' 'Hindu' response to foreign Islamic invasions. It was left to every individual 550+ kingdoms scattered of what is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to fight against Islamic invaders.The Punjabi-Indian clan lead the resistance against Islamic atrocities against Hindus and took to violent methods to save themselves and their communities. They dont cut hair but wear their turban and always carry a dagger (weapon) for protection. They swore to cut their hair after they got rid of all muslim invaders.
    In moments like these when majority of americans are ignorant about other faiths and media wonderful job of keeping it that way, people representing their faith try to invent and whitewash their own history to 'promote' their religion as peace-loving and what not!. Sikhism was a dire necessity in the 15th century for Hindus to use militancy in order to survive the atrocities of Islamic rule over most parts of India.
    If Sikhs are so 'peace-loving' why do they carry weapons at all times (it is also permitted by the Indian government). Sikh community of Punjab and Haryana have the lowest male-female ratio over all other Indian states/ethnicites and also honor-killing of women is a wide-spread epidemic of their community even after some of them migrated in vast numbers to England and America.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • kdarneja

      I am not sure where are your facts coming from. If you were a scholar, you'd at least provide references to backup the BS you wrote here...

      Where did you get your education? University of duhh?

      I am Sikh, I dont carry weapons!!

      And what does honor killing have anything to do with hate crime? did you see the post before commenting..

      Just don't write a comment for the sake of commenting. Use you 5 seconds of post view to make people more informed and not stupider.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • envengineer

      Please don't spread wrong information. You are an idiot.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • jayakumar

      He is right. I am an Indian and we are all taught histories of every religion in India which are very many. The author has evidently is not saying the ntire truth, though I dont see how that will affect the honor of sikhs. Sikhs are a militant wing of hindus, a warrior caste amon hindus to be exact, trained and educated to respect others and fight for their honor. Their main creation was to defend India and hindus from the barbaric hordes of muslim invaders. That is the truth. The author obviously is pretty ignorant.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • ChuckB

      It started out a a pacific sect. However their communities were victims of the Muslim invasions into India. Most Sikhs became adherents of the Khalsa, which, as you mention is a warrior society, to defend themsleves. The Sikhs have not taken to invading and appropriating the land of others. The Namdhari, a sect of Sikhism, maintain the non-violence of the original Sikhs. The Sikhs were the only troops that remained loyal to the British during the Sepoy (native soldiers) revolt in 1850s India and helped put down the rebellion. While individual Sikhs have engaged in honor killings, the official doctrine of the relgion doesn not condone it; there is nothing comparable to Sharia law.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Mike

      Ms. Neela. I would request you to get your facts right. I am not a Sikh myself but have several Sikh friends. Sikhs, as I know are truly warm, open heart and community serving people. As far as carrying the weapons part goes then please reference some websites like: http://sikhs.org/rehit.htm or http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Main_Page

      Sikhs do not carry any weapons; however, most of them learn Martial arts as part of their heritage so that if ever required they would protect their families or others. Sikhs have faught bravely against the Islamic revolution where the Muslim rulers wanted to forcefully convert all Indians to Muslims. Had Sikhs not been there, India would have been a Muslim country just like Saudi Arabia or Indonesia.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • @jayakumar

      Sikhism and Hinduism are completely separate religions, and you simply do not know what you are talking about. Sikhism preaches that there is one god and only one god, he may have different names (such as God, Allah, etc) or be worshiped by different religions (Christianity, Judaism) but he is still the same god. It is for this reason that Sikhs do not aggressively convert others to their religion, as they believe there are multiple paths to the same god.

      As for Sikhs carrying weapons, yes, this is true, they can, and a very few devout religious Sikhs do carry small knives. BUT there are important caveats and reasons for this. This tradition stemmed from oppression of Sikhs by Muslim Mughals throughout the founding of Sikhism. These small knives are only to be used in self defense if one is in grave danger or in the protection of others that are in danger, and it is outright forbidden to be used in attacking someone. This is very similar to the gun laws in the United States, and the Supreme Court of the US also ruled that Sikhs should be allowed to do so (only a very few do, however).

      August 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • VegasRage

      That is biggest load of hyperbole I have seen in a long time.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • A Sikh

      Dear NeelaKandan,

      It is people like you with half baked knowledge claiming to know it all are the ones who are the ignorant. What is the basis of your knowledge about Sikhism or is just made up? How did you come up with this that "They swore to cut their hair after they got rid of all muslim invaders"? Truly shows your lack of knowledge and baseless thinking.

      Just for others reading the comments made by NeelaKandan, I would like to tell you that Sikhism is a religion based on peace and equality. Our current Guru, Guru Granth Sahib (holy book) is composed of hymns of 16 saints (both hindu and muslim) in addition to the hymns of the Sikh Gurus. Self defense is not violence. Dagger was mandated so the Sikhs could protect themselves and other needy people. When the invaders or the local rulers would abduct innocent females that is when the Sikhs would get up and fight for the freedom of those and for their own freedom. But I guess for you a fight for freedom or fight against oppression is called Millitancy? If a thug will walk inside your house and try to beat you up, what would be your reaction. Of course you can't touch that invader since you will become a militant as per your definition.

      NeelaKandan, I understand what you are saying about the epidemic but that is not part or teachings of the Sikh religion. If you actually ever read or try and understand the true teachings of Sikhism all of these things are actually condemned. But of course if you are just one of those people who just likes to make assumptions without understanding then go ahead. That is exactly what the shooter did today, so what is the difference between you and him?

      May god shake you up and help you wash out your own ignorance.

      Regards,
      A Sikh

      August 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Jaggu

      Neela: you are an idiot and people like you are spreading mis information over the Internet.
      Don't blame the media. You shud have been there today to feel the pain

      August 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • deep

      swore to cut our hair after we get rid of muslim invaders? thats not true.. and i shouldnt have to argue against this atleast today... because of the sad event that took place...!!! but mian mir was a muslim who put "neeh" of holiest shrine harimandir sahib.. .sikhi wasnt just military resistant religion.. its a new way to think... we dnt favor hindus over muslims... or muslims over hindus we try to see gods light in all.. and to see none as our enemy... we fight for righeousness, against opression..!!! the invaders and oppressors happened to be the ruling muslims...so we fought against them!!!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Indian

      Issues like honor killings are more driven by ignorance and lack of education. It is common across all religions in Indian subcontinent. So, do not try to typify one community for it.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • gurbeer

      If you are depressed it is better to see a psy or take some pills and relax. The symptoms usually are : start writing some BS on online forums. Please consulta doc.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.