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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. Believe in God

    Sikhism is a cult religion... similar to Islam and they look like disgusting Muslims

    August 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Shannon

      Just for that comment im pretty sure thats a sin...guess God is sending u to hell....if u believe in god and we believe in the same God what makes you different assh*le....ur the biggest example of ignorance there is...u just contradicted urself "believe in God"

      August 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Sarina

      This is the most ignorant comment I've ever seen someone write. How are we a cult? I could name 10 branches of Christianity that go out and convert and brainwash people. Sikhism is a way of life. And just because we are from a different part of the world and don't look like you doesn't make us "disgusting" either. You have no respect and it saddens me that people are still this uneducated this day in age.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      All religions, christianity and islam inlcuded, are cults.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Well that's all we need "I believe in God" classing up the joint with ignorant, hate filled rubbish!

      August 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Greg

      It people like you that cause these type of events!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • sandeep singh

      I am a Sikh but since you follow Jesus please come to Gurdwara to practice some of Jesus's teachings and try to emulate hm by becoming a healer.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Lovebird1

      Sikhism is not a cult because we denounce empty rituals and allow people to intrepret and define themselves as they wish! I wish you well brother ❤

      August 7, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  2. vuv

    ask families of air india flight 182, where did the money came from-from yours peaceful community.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:03 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! Most of the people died in that plane attack were sikhs,

      August 6, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Lovebird1

      I am Sikh who studies our scriptures everyday and tries to embody the teachings of Sikhism of compassion and peaceful living. I do not support the actions of extremism or violence and I actively donate funds to children in third world countries. Please do not define ME by the actions of a few. God bless you my freind.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  3. Peeves

    I guess I just need a list. Can someone please make a list of all the people I am supposed to hate? Just want to be up-to-date on the 'hate thing.'

    August 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Anybody who doesn't recognize zombie Jesus as their savior.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Bill Duke

      Change your name to " Intolerant Libertarian" for accuracy.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm tolerant, not acceptant of BS.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  4. Nervana

    I wish Muslims learn something from Sikhs. Just saw a sikh leader on TV inviting all Americans to their Sikh temple on coimg Sunday for the free lunch get together and understand their religion. Muzzies would have been calling for deaths and destruction if it happened in muslim temple. PEACE

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

      You are assuming that all Muslims feel that way.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • hpek

      How very Christian of you. Just like Jesus.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      Christians and Islam are sister religions...both started by Abhram brothers....both are not peaceful as in both religion, there texts asks for conversions...islam converts via violence, christians converts via money or incentives.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Lal

      The Muslim community has made a huge effort in the last 10 years to educate and build bridges. This includes having open houses, educational events, community aftars during Ramadan and other community events. Not only this but Imams as well as regular Muslims have gone to Churches and other houses of worship for interfaith events and to support social justice projects. Just because you have been unaware of these events doesn't mean they are not taking place. Perhaps its time you called your local mosque or checked their website to learn about all the interfaith efforts in your area. Finally, mosques do not have any kind of membership requirements, any person of any faith can just walk in and connect/learn and observe.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  5. Ritchie

    And whether you like it or not, peaceful we are. It's clear that most of these ignorant comments are made by people who don't know any Sikhs and have never dealt with them (as always)

    August 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  6. vuv

    Just stating facts: Sikh communities in America and Canada have sponsored acts of terrorism in Punjab, India in the name Khalistan. They raise money here and sponsor act of terrorism back home. I am just tired of listening how peaceful they are

    August 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Ritchie

      That is complete and utter nonsense, in fact it's ridiculous

      August 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Sarina

      Excuse me but who are you to say this? What is your source? Our Sikh temple donations are given to better the community through various service projects I myself have been apart of.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Stan the Man

      Air India 182

      August 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      @Ritchie: Stop smoking..here is your religion of peace...Sikh terror groups banned in US/UK/Canada/EU/India
      The major pro-Khalistan militant outfits include:

      Babbar Khalsa International (BKI)
      Listed as a terrorist organization in the European Union,[66] Canada,[67] India,[68] and UK.[68][69]
      Also included in the Terrorist Exclusion List of the United States Government in 2004.[70]
      Designated by the US and the Canadian courts for the bombing of Air India Flight 182 on 27 June 2002.[68][71]
      Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)
      Listed as a terrorist organization by the EU.[66] Last major suspected activity was a bomb blast at the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Jalandhar, in 2006.[72]
      International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), based in the United Kingdom
      Khalistan Commando Force (KCF)
      Formed in 1986.[73] It does not figure in the list of terrorist organizations declared by United States Department of State[74]
      According to the US State Department,[55] and the Assistant Inspector General of the Punjab Police Intelligence Division,[75] the KCF was responsible for the deaths of thousands in India, including the 1995 assassination of Chief Minister Beant Singh.[55]
      All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF)
      Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan (BTFK)
      Also known variously as Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan and Bhindranwale Tiger Force, this group appears to have been formed in 1984 by Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. After the founder's death, the BTF (or BTFK) seems to have disbanded or integrated into other organizations.[76]
      Listed in 1995 one of the 4 "major militant groups" in the Khalistan movement.[77]
      Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF)
      Khalistan Liberation Force
      Formed in 1986; believed to be responsible for several bombings of civilian targets in India during the 1980s and 1990s, sometimes in conjunction with Islamist Kashmir separatists.[78][79][80]
      Khalistan Liberation Army (KLA)
      Reputed to have been a wing of, or possibly associated with, or possibly a breakaway group from, the Khalistan Liberation Force.
      Khalistan Armed Force (KAF)

      August 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Ritchie

      I'm not smoking anything Bagla. I am a Sikh and I know my community

      August 5, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  7. Everett Wallace

    you worship frogs you BONEHEADS! best to eat frog legs instead of trying to talk to them. here is a question where is Heaven. there is no reencarnation rag heads.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Robert

      you may not agree with there religion. I am a christian.I dont BUT these people are a peaceful minority. I have a lot of indians living around me. for such a small town. there very laid back . and never a problem. unlike muslims.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Are you mentally sick? Get some help you fool and next time you comment try doing so in a civilised manner

      August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • kenny

      u r an ignorant moron... why do you like telling other people about it???

      August 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Peace on earth

      You may or may not agree but using this language
      You are spreading hatred, feel free to be an atheist or follow any religion you like but opinion is something else & truth is something different facts are facts they are not dependent on opinions

      August 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • mhklein

      You are a pathetic bigot.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Sarina

      You are seriously the most ignorant human. Go read a book before you spew nonsense. You then would understand our religion. You are a prime example with what is wrong with america. Gene cleansing better take it's course soon.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • aSikh

      I cannot for a minute believe that reincarnation does not exist, you sound so like a dog.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That made me laugh! Woof, woof.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  8. Gurpreet Singh bagla

    List of sikh terrorirts groups...baned in India/UK/US/Canada/Europe

    The major pro-Khalistan militant outfits include:

    Babbar Khalsa International (BKI)
    Listed as a terrorist organization in the European Union,[66] Canada,[67] India,[68] and UK.[68][69]
    Also included in the Terrorist Exclusion List of the United States Government in 2004.[70]
    Designated by the US and the Canadian courts for the bombing of Air India Flight 182 on 27 June 2002.[68][71]
    Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)
    Listed as a terrorist organization by the EU.[66] Last major suspected activity was a bomb blast at the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Jalandhar, in 2006.[72]
    International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), based in the United Kingdom
    Khalistan Commando Force (KCF)
    Formed in 1986.[73] It does not figure in the list of terrorist organizations declared by United States Department of State[74]
    According to the US State Department,[55] and the Assistant Inspector General of the Punjab Police Intelligence Division,[75] the KCF was responsible for the deaths of thousands in India, including the 1995 assassination of Chief Minister Beant Singh.[55]
    All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF)
    Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan (BTFK)
    Also known variously as Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan and Bhindranwale Tiger Force, this group appears to have been formed in 1984 by Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. After the founder's death, the BTF (or BTFK) seems to have disbanded or integrated into other organizations.[76]
    Listed in 1995 one of the 4 "major militant groups" in the Khalistan movement.[77]
    Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF)
    Khalistan Liberation Force
    Formed in 1986; believed to be responsible for several bombings of civilian targets in India during the 1980s and 1990s, sometimes in conjunction with Islamist Kashmir separatists.[78][79][80]
    Khalistan Liberation Army (KLA)
    Reputed to have been a wing of, or possibly associated with, or possibly a breakaway group from, the Khalistan Liberation Force.
    Khalistan Armed Force (KAF)
    Dashmesh Regiment
    Khalistan Liberation Organisation (KLO)
    Khalistan National Army (KNA)
    Kamagata Maru Dal of Khalistan
    Shaheed Khalsa Force
    Khalistan Guerilla Force
    Khalistan Security Force
    Khalistan Rebel Fediration (KRF)

    August 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • toad

      I guess Khalistan needs to be elevated in my nation's consciousness. Sikh's need a press agent. Perhaps we can spin those acts of terrorism the way we spin drone strikes.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • BG

      Singh, I applaud your list. Mind if I ask where you accessed that from?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      @BG...Please google sikh terrorists oranizations..it will take you to many places....You can also download list from Canada and US offical websites

      August 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Ritchie

      There is nothing to applaud here. This movement was quashed in the 1980's. The Indian government simply went into all the villages of Punjab and killed all the men and young boys. End of problem, bad luck for all the innocent victims. It's a non issue today and the fact is the Sikhs of America (and anywhere else in the world) are peaceful and hard working citizens.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      News about sikh terrorirsts...only 8 months old news. http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Two-Babbar-Khalsa-militants-arrested/Article1-785979.aspx

      After seven long years, the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) seems to be back in action, but this time the banned militant outfit is looking to execute a bigger bang, police say. Instead of a separate Khalistan, police claim, it now seeks to resurrect militancy to spread plain error.

      BTW visit any gurudwara in US, you will find posters of terrorists declared as martyrs.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • BG

      Sure, Ritchie.

      Did you read Singh's list? That list is current because the problem is current. The threat is ongoing.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Sarina

      I am disgusted as to how you are writing all this hatred with an Sikh name. You clearly don't know the history of the Sikhs. Our religion arose because of the war conflict between the Muslims and Hindus and we protected and fought for the Hindus and then later in history we were massacred and killed. Ever heard about the year 1984 with Sikhs? Read about the history and the religious conflict our religion has had to put up with in India and now elsewhere. We do not have a caste system, the punjabi culture does associate with names but that is a culture not a religion. We do believe in reincarnation but we ALSO believe in heaven and hell.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Ritchie

      That is rubbish BG and Bagla.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • BG

      * Ritchie stomps feet and refuses to go to bed *

      August 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Ritchie

      No I'm still here BG. Bagla's comments inc. the one about posters being "everywhere" are absolute rubbish and it's obvious he's posting under a fake name

      August 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      @Ritchie: Now I seriously doubt that you are a sikh... Have you ever in your life visisted a sikh gurudwara in US....they have these terrorirsts pictures displayed at martyrs..

      August 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Enough already Bagla, a tragedy has occurred in America today and your posts are misleading and insincere

      August 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Lovebird1

      Hey "Gurpreet",

      I am a Sikh who reads the Guru Granth Sahib everyday, without political motives and I try to embody the true teachings of Sikhism. I have never been violent (I won't even kill a bug) and try to base my life on the oneness, compassion and humility (kill my ego) that Sikhism teaches me. I would be grateful if you would stop defining ME through the actions of extremists. I'd like to ask you to look within yourself – Why are you so hateful? Guru ji instrucsts Sikhs to "look within ourselves everyday" . Your hatred is amusing! So much effort on something useless and backwards. I would be happy to give you a hug if you need it and show you the compassion of a true Sikh! ❤ God bless you brother!

      August 7, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • Lovebird1

      Hey "Gurpreet",

      I am a Sikh who reads the Guru Granth Sahib everyday, without political motives and I try to embody the true teachings of Sikhism. I have never been violent (I won't even kill a bug) and try to base my life on the oneness, compassion and humility (kill my ego) that Sikhism teaches me. I would be grateful if you would stop defining ME through the actions of extremists. I'd like to ask you to look within yourself – Why are you so hateful? Guru ji instrucsts Sikhs to "look within ourselves everyday" . Your hatred is amusing! So much effort on something useless and backwards. I would be happy to give you a hug if you need it and show you the compassion of a true Sikh! ❤ God bless you brother!

      August 7, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  9. Joe

    What??? Its not 'Get all you can Get and screw the Others' thats the American Jesus Way

    August 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  10. Volsocal

    My post keeps disappearing. Guess I just don't fit in to CNN's propaganda narrative.

    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 10:37 pm |
    • HeatherJonesUS

      And in 1984, thousands of them were massacred with government support. Does that warrant that we Americans should hate every Hindu for that? You can only spread love by highlighting good deeds and things about others and not highlighting the deeds of few individuals. Wake Up !!

      August 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • BG

      Not thousands. India re-took the Golden Temple from the terrorist Singh Bhindranwale. Indira Gandhi ordered the strike, and her Sikh bodyguards assassinated her for it afterwards.

      OMG!!!

      *little girl squeal*

      August 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      @HeatherJonesUS: Yes thousands of sikhs were killed by congress sponsored riots in 1984...but this was itsself a result of a separatist moment going in Punjab, India which resulted in killing of hindus and sikhs by millitant sikhs...now as far your rhetoric goes" we Americans should hate every Hindu"!! Believe me is this world most human rights violations are done by Americans, be it Hiroshima, nagasaki, iraq, iran, afganistan or whatever...so don't try to take a high moral ground, since Americans are lowest on this measure...btw talk about sikhs and not americans..America is much mush bigger then sikhism.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • DF

      So, according to your logic...if any few members of a religious group are responsible for a crime....that MUST mean the ENTIRE religious group is filled with EVIL EVIL people??!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!!? Way to generalize. This article is about something that happened today in Wisconsin...nothing to do with what you have mentioned. That's like commenting on a story where a group of christians, jews, etc. etc. have been killed....only to refer to some time where a few christians or jews were found guilty of a crime? NO RELEVANCE!!!! innocent people being killed still equals innocent people being killed! GUN CONTROL

      August 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      F.uck gun control. Eight people were killed in China last week by a psycho with a knife. Psychos will always find a way to kill people, and normal people shouldn't be punished for it.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • BG

      You can't legislate away insanity.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Such a sweet and irrelevant post by Volsocal about something which happened nearly thirty years ago and is a non issue today. Sikhs are peaceful and hard working people.

      And "BG" should be more respectful towards HeatherJonesUS, her comments are reasonable and accurate

      August 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Greg

      So anytime christian gets murdered, we shouldn't mourn their death like a human being but blame them for any crime christian committed? Your a hateful person.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • AGuest9

      @Greg, many "christian"s are.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  11. Hemant Kaul

    As a young Hindu child growing up in India my mother would tell me if travelling alone I was ever afraid or scared I should go and sit next to a Sikh . My mother believed that a Sikh would protect the weak and the defenseless even at the risk of their own life .50 years later I continue to believe this to be true .
    A wonderful religion they blend in work hard play well and a brave community . I am sad and horrified . Today I am a Sikh and proud of it .

    August 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      Don't spread lies...lol

      August 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Sarina

      This is the truth. Us Sikhs stand strong. As the articles have said Kelaka jumped on the gunman and tried to take him down to protect everyone else. THAT is a Sikh for you. Sher banke

      August 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Who are you really Gurpreet? If you were a Sikh you'd know this is a very common type of story amongst Indians about Sikhs, I have heard this type of thing many times myself from Hindus.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      Lets not spread false lies please...in terrorist attack, someone always emerges as a Hero, irrespective of religion.....Lets stop calling us lions because we also have bhappe like Manmohan singh...stop spreading lies like hindus tell stories, I have never heard a single story from hindus...Infact last year in Mumbai, India, Sikhs jammed traffic and were somewhat rioting on streets of Mumbai...BalaSaheb thakery issues a warning to sikhs..stops this crap and you know what Balasaheb thakery didn't had to repeat it second time, all ran into their bills..so lets not call sikhs as lions..its a false propoganda.

      " In a strongly-worded statement frontpaged by party organ, Saamna , Thackeray said it was the Sena which had protected Sikhs in Mumbai after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

      Thackeray noted that a large number of Sikhs were seen roaming around the streets of Mulund brandishing swords and attacking innocent people, including women. Train commuters were targeted for no fault of theirs, he said, adding that several women went to the Shiv Sena shakha in Mulund and complained to local leader Prabhakar Shinde about the violence.

      However, despite complaints from Shinde, the police failed to take action, he added. Thackeray said the Sikhs should ask their elders about the Delhi riots in case they had forgotten about them. He further pointed out that if the anti-Sikhs riots did not spread to Mumbai in 1984, it was largely because of the Shiv Sena.

      He said the then President, Giani Zail Singh, had thanked him for protecting members of his community in Mumbai while those in Delhi had suffered.

      Sources in the Sena said party activists would not remain mute spectators if the Sikhs resorted to violence in future.

      "The open display of swords, assaults on innocent men and women, forced closure of shops and vandalising of railway property have angered Thackeray and his son Uddhav. We will hit back if the Sikhs repeat their acts. Nobody is justifying the opening of fire by the Dera bodyguard, but why should innocent people and public property in Maharashtra be targeted?" a senior Sena leader asked.
      "

      August 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Ritchie

      It's already been established this is a true story. What's your real name and who are you really Bagla?

      August 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • sandeep singh

      Absolutely true. Families all over India advise their women folks to always trust a Sikh taxi driver when traveling at night. Guru Gobind Singh forbade his Sikhs to lust upon the women of their defeated enemies. A pashtun women of a defeated afghan general in 18th century came over to the winner Sikh general Hari singh Nalwa asking him to take her over to his harem as she wants to bore children of the winner Sikh general. Hari singh got up and started addressing her as Mother saying look now you already have a winner Son.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  12. Linda Lehnert

    This is a tragedy for the Sikh community. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  13. Gurpreet Singh bagla

    Sikhs do have casts example Jats, Khatris, chamar, rajputs,lubanas etc....khatris don't marry jats and Jats only marry in jats.Guru Nanak was a practicing Hindu and later he started this new religion after mixing customs from Islam and hinduism and he also added some new customs....GuruGranth sahib greatly draws influence from other main religions of India.

    Many of the sikhs terrorists organizations are banned in India/US and Canada after JATS sikhs started a separatists moment in India with help from ISI.This resulted in a anti hindu backlash in Punjab, where thousands of hindus and sikhs(who were not supporters of terrorist bhinderwala) were killed...finally Indian govt crushed bhinderwala and his filthy gang of terrorists in operation blue star...in result sikhs assisinated indian PM indira gandhi(irony is Indira was the woman behind rise of bhinderwala), assination of indira gandhi led to congress party sponsored riots against sikhs in which 2000 sikhs died in India...this created a divide b/w hindus and sikhs..specially jat sikhs...now most of the sikhs outside India, mainly in US/canada and UK support sepratist moments in India and project terrorists as martyrs in gurudwaras...recently some were caught planning terrorists attcks in India and they belonged to terror group called babbar khalsa....other heinous act where sikh terrorists were invloved was India airlines midair bombing by sikh terror groups in canada.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • HeatherJonesUS

      OMG !! So much ignorance. We are talking here about educating the people about good things about Sikhs and learning how we are all equal. Please keep your hatred and ignorance to yourself. Have you ever studied their holy scripture? Please do not be a preacher with incomplete and shallow knowledge.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      @HeatherJonesUS: instead of OMG and crap....try to dispute the factsI put. I think you are ignorant, since you are living in US..who have no idea what happened in late 70s and 80s in India.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • BG

      Heather's probably 15 or so. Ignore her.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Sam Smith

      Thank you Mr. Gurpreet Singh bagla for all your well wishes and prayers for the victims in the Wisconsin shooting. After all we are all human beings and the last place we should feel scared or afraid is where we go to remember God, no matter what religion we belong to.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • DF

      Um no. You are incorrect sir. THERE IS NO CASTE IN SIKHISM. There is caste in the Punjabi culture....culture does not equal religion...in case you did not know. Sikhism was created because it wanted to spread the message of equality...and ridding the caste system is a very important value in this religion. Now, I'm sure there are some people from that region that say they are Sikh and believe in this caste system...but they are misinformed...and are not following the true scripture from Sikhism. I feel that you may be one of these confused and misinformed individuals. 🙂

      August 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Ritchie

      That is complete and utter rubbish Gurpreet. As you should be well aware, Sikhism abolished the caste system and states clearly that all human beings are equal. If people choose as individuals to identify with a caste that is purely cultural and nothing to do with the faith, if you were really a Sikh you should know that.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      It's about what is practiced and not about what is preached...sikh follow caste system so much that they kill there daughters if they marry in same caste or outside religion...go in punjab there is so much honor killing specially by JAT sikhs...

      In punjab villages you have SEPARATE temples for Khatris, Jats and chamars....coz they are different castes.

      I am not misinformed, its just that you are blind 🙂

      August 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Not at all Bagla, you have clearly stated yourself that what is preached is equality for all and no caste. If something else is practiced on an individual basis, that's a cultural issue and nothing to do with the faith.

      It is you who are misinforming the public with your misleading posts about cultural issues which have nothing to do with the faith itself. Yes they should be dealt with but that's a separate matter and nothing to do with Sikhism.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      Well whatever is written in gurugranth sahib..who cares!! how many people will read it completely in this life....actions speak louder than words...fact is castism is very much an unoficial part of sikhism...

      August 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • A Sikh

      Mr. Bagla,

      A true follower of Sikhi will read the Guru Granth Sahib many many times over and try to understand it as well. I pray to the almighty to give you peace at your heart. This post is about the innocent who were killed or injured today and the police officer who risked his life. Please have some respect for the innocent victims and leave this thread.

      May waheguru bless you with wisdom, peace, health and prosperity.

      Regards,
      A Sikh

      August 6, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  14. Jowl

    Sikhs tout EQUALITY but their definition is different.. It has nothing to do with EQAULITY in the traditional liberal sense.. They are talking about their own caste system.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • HeatherJonesUS

      There is no caste system in Sikhs. In fact, all Sikhs are supposed to have the same last name (Singh for Male and Kaur for Females), thus totally abolishing any caste system.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Very funny mate. Sikhism – which you obviously know nothing about – states clearly that all human beings are equal, end of story.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      ALL US Citizens

      On a visit to the city of Jagraon, Ludhiana in the Punjab state of India in December 1994,[1] Jassi met and fell in love with Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu (nicknamed Mithu), a rickshaw driver.[2] They kept in touch over the next four years. In 1999, Jassi made another trip to India with her family. This trip was for the purpose of arranging a marriage for her. Instead, she and Sukhwinder married secretly on March 15, 1999. Her family strongly disapproved of this marriage, supposedly because he was of a lower status than she, and they attempted to persuade her to get a divorce by beating her and offering to buy her a car.[1] When those attempts were futile, her family persuaded her to sign a form, falsely telling her that by signing, they would help Sukhwinder come to Canada. Instead, the form was filled with accusations against Sukhwinder. When Jassi discovered that she had been betrayed, she faxed a letter to the Indian Officials stating that the accusations in the form sent earlier were false. Her mother and uncle were arrested on January 6, 2012.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaswinder_Kaur_Sidhu

      August 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, also known as Jassi (August 4, 1975 – June 8, 2000) was a Sikh beautician in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, who was murdered in an alleged honor killing. She was kidnapped, tortured, and killed allegedly on the orders of her mother, Malkiat Kaur Sidhu and her uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha, near Kaonke Khosa, Ludhiana, Punjab, India.[1]

      August 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Once again Bagla you are talking about a cultural issue which has nothing to do with the faith. This has already been clearly established. You are misleading and misinforming the public with your posts.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • A Sikh

      Dear Ritchie,

      Please ignore Mr. Bagla. As per Gurbani "moorkhe naal na lujhiye", literal meaning "do not get entangled with a fool". Instead lets focus on praying for the innocent victims and their families. Also, pray for the family of the gunman.

      Regards,
      A Sikh

      August 6, 2012 at 4:06 am |
  15. N

    SIKHS protected the Hindus for 400 YEARS from Mughal invaders in India. Mughal invaders forced Hindus to convert to Islam, but the SIKHS would always fight for the Hindus and were martyred.

    And look what just happened today! SIKHS being mistaken for Muslims is incredibly disgusting, ironic and a crime of the highest order.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I don't think that it's been proven to be a case of mistaken ident.ity yet.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      Don't misinform public..lol

      August 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Ritchie

      The only one who is misinforming the public is you with your inaccurate posts under a seemingly fake name Mr Bagla

      August 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  16. charan

    South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, born Sikh
    Preetinder Singh "Preet" Bharara NY prosecutor is a Sikh

    August 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  17. N

    This is really really sad. I have so many Sikh friends, both in India and the US and I feel very disgusted by this. The media should do a better job of educating people about Sikh beliefs (including long beard, turban etc.) so that people don't mistake them for ..( )..

    August 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Jowl

      Um everyone's till ping to think they area weird cult since they believe in reincarnation..

      August 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Ritchie

      Thanks for your input Jowl. Unfortunately for you, hundreds of millions (if not billions) of people in this world believe in re-incarnation and there have been thousands of books written with case studies confirming this. By all means carry on living in your little, ignorant bubble if you wish. Alternatively, the evidence is always out there if you wish to find it.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  18. susan

    Thanks CNN for this article. Please run this on prime time too so people can understand what sikhism is. I encourage all other channels to do so as well.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • BG

      Wonderful, peaceful Sikhs. We don't know who (or what) was responsible yet, but let's not forget....

      Air India 182 bombing by Sikhs, 329 dead.

      Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Sikh terrorist

      Indira Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards killed her (31st October 1984) for the perceived sacrilege of her ordering Operation Blue Star (taking over the "Golden Temple" from the terrorist Singh Bhindranwale)

      Sikh Khalistiani separatists demanding that the Punjab territory become a independent free state.

      There's more. Sikhs aren't without their own special brand of terrorism.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Ritchie

      This movement is dead since the 80's and early 90's, it's irrelevant and a non-issue today. And yes you're right, Sikhs are wonderful and peace loving. That bit you actually got right.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • BG

      Tell me something, Ritchie – why are you so adamant about denying the Kahlistan movement? If you were Hindu you'd recognize it as a threat. If you were Punjabi you'd be proud of it. If you were Pakistani you'd support it.

      So what's your interest in it, or, more correctly, denying it?

      August 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Greg

      BG why do you bringing this up now? Christian and muslim don't have terrorist?? Was George Washington a terrorist for fighting for freedom? All these movements been dead since the early 90's. You just have a agenda of spreading hate.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  19. An Indian

    Sikhism is a religion from Indian sub continent. They are Sikhs and they do not belong to any other religion. You will see them every where in Indian life. Indian prime minister is a Sikh. Majorityof Sikhs are from India and other countries in Indian Sub continenet but Sikhs are present all over the world.

    Sikhs you may find in USA would be mere peace loving , warm and friendly people simply indulged in their own simple happy life.

    It is very unfortunate if they are being targeted and because of their out look and appearance.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Gurpreet Singh bagla

      Any comments on displaying terrorists pictures inside sikh temples, holding AK-47 and RPG in hands and declaring them as martyrs?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Greg

      GSB why are they terrorists? These were the same groups that fought the British for freedom they were martyrs then.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  20. Ballu

    CNN, u r doing good job by educating American about Sikh Religion & there values.
    Please continue this in prime time also for next 2-3 days. This will really help Sikh all over the world.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • BG

      So will this.

      http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Will-hand-over-Khalistan-separatists-in-US-FBI-to-India/Article1-878621.aspx

      August 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • ready

      there will always be ethnic separatists in a nation like India. They are the least of the problem in that country.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:01 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.