My Take: Sikh temple shooting is act of terrorism
August 6th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

My Take: Sikh temple shooting is act of terrorism

Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the book "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era."

By Arsalan Iftikhar, Special to CNN

(CNN)–Imagine that you woke up on a beautiful Sunday morning to hear the news of a brown, bearded, gun-wielding madman who stormed into a Wisconsin church full of blond-haired parishioners and killed six innocent people.

If that scenario did occur, would most Americans have any problem calling that an act of "terrorism"?

Of course not.

Now imagine that the shooter was a white man and the innocent victims were bearded brown men and head-covered women. Suddenly, the discussion of "terrorism" gets a lot more complicated.

Of course, this is exactly what happened in a Milwaukee suburb on Sunday, when six people and the alleged gunman were killed at a Sikh temple.

One of the congregation's members told a local news station, "Nobody's angry here. We're just confused. Was this a random act? Was this directed at us because of the way we look?"

Sadly, it's probably going to be the latter.

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Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Police Chief John Edwards said at a news conference that the case is being treated as domestic terrorism, and the FBI is taking over.

But it's important for our greater American society to also condemn acts of terrorism when the perpetrator happens to be a white guy.

If not, we send millions of people of color around America the message that the term "terrorism" has been co-opted, that it shall apply only when brown bearded men are the shooters and not when they are the tragic victims.

Unless we acknowledge this attack on the Sikh temple as an act of terrorism, we will essentially be relegating brown-skinned Americans to second-class citizenry by perpetuating the myth that "terrorism" is only a Muslim, Arab or South Asian phenomenon and beyond the pale for any white person to commit.

To give another recent example, imagine that a brown Arab Muslim male tried to assassinate a member of Congress by shooting her in the head, killing six innocent people and wounding 13 others outside a grocery store during this assassination attempt.

Would we have any trouble calling this scenario above an act of terrorism? Nope.

Since authorities say the gunman was a white dude named Jared Lee Loughner, he was just a kooky loner whose mental health must have been the triggering factor. But if his name were Ali Akbar Nahasapeemapetilon, nobody in America would care a bit about his mental health issues.

Since observant Sikh men keep a turban (known as dastaar or pagri) and unshorn hair, which often manifests itself into a long beard, many Americans after September 11 wrongfully conflated Sikh Americans with Muslim Americans because of this "turban-and-beard" look. To highlight the sheer tragic irony and stupid human ignorance of bias-motivated hate crimes within America, the first actual tragic victim of a post-9/11 "hate crime" murder in the United States was neither a Muslim nor an Arab.

Four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Indian Sikh-American businessman, was brutally shot several times and killed instantly by Frank Roque in a Mesa, Arizona, gas station. According to BBC World News, the county attorney stated that Sodhi was killed for no other apparent reason than that he was dark-skinned and wore a turban.

Just like America has been on high alert for brown-skinned terrorism since September 11, millions of Americans of Arab, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian descent have equally been on high alert about reprisal attacks against brown-skinned Americans that happened immediately after September 11.

On the same day as the Sodhi murder, September 15, 2001, Adel Karas, a 48-year-old Egyptian Orthodox Coptic Christian and father of three, was viciously murdered outside his suburban Los Angeles import shop. In Texas, both the FBI and local police investigated the murder of Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani store owner who was found shot to death outside his grocery store in suburban Dallas.

One day after 9/11, in the early morning hours of September 12, at least six bullets shattered several windows of the Islamic Center of Irving in suburban Dallas. Similarly, on September 12, 2001, 29-year-old Eric Richley of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, decided to drive his white Ford Mustang into the front glass doors of the Grand Mosque at the Islamic Center of Greater Cleveland. Places of worship including Muslim mosques, Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras became instant targets for patriotic terrorists seeking to lash out at innocent Americans like the Sikh victims of the terrorist attack in Wisconsin.

Belonging to a five-century-old monotheistic tradition, professor Stephen Prothero writes,

Sikhism emerged out of a culture steeped in both Hinduism and Islam, and early Sikhs attempted to reconcile the two, in part by focusing on heartfelt devotion to God rather than rites and doctrines. "There is no Hindu and no Muslim, so whose path shall I follow?" asked (Sikh founder) Guru Nanak. "I shall follow the path of God." Like Muslims, Sikhs are strict monotheists who emphasize divine sovereignty. They reject the view that God incarnates in human form, believing instead in a formless God that can be known through singing and meditation.

According to professor Gurinder Singh Mann, the "Sikhs lay emphasis on a life of hard work, social commitment, and ethical living. A complex set of doctrinal, historical and sociological reasons made them a very political people and they have kept up that heritage in both the Punjab, the land of their origin, and wherever they have migrated to in the past century."

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Most Americans do not know that the first Sikh American member of Congress was Dalip Singh Saund, who represented California's 29th congressional district in 1957. Since Sikhs have served America as doctors, lawyers and teachers for more than a century, any attack on their house of worship should be considered an attack on all houses of worship.

So, if the mass murder at the Sikh temple is not referred to as an act of "terrorism" by virtually every member of our American media and sociopolitical elite, the only message that this will send to millions of people of color across America is that the term "terrorism" has been co-opted and shall apply only when brown bearded men are the shooters, not when they are the tragic victims.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arsalan Iftikhar.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Crime • Sikh

soundoff (849 Responses)
  1. Zubie

    Bizarre Health Rituals in India Show Dangerous Side of Tradition

    In what has got to be on of the most vile and disturbing things ever put to print, a man in eastern India was arrested for his unconventional and downright insane method of curing the common cold in children.
    50-year old Jamun Yadav, who considers himself to be a demigod of the Hindu faith, believes he can channel and transfer divine energy through his feet, which has lead to him standing on the necks and throats of young children suffering from your average run-of-the-mill cold.
    When asked about them, the guru claimed that he was merely speaking for God, and as such needs no other defense.
    It serves as a grim reminder of the dangerous religious traditions observed by many Hindus in India, many of which are done so for the health of their children. One such ritual involves throwing infants off of a fifty foot tower, a tradition thought to bring good health and luck to the child throughout his or her life.
    The children are tossed from the tower onto a tightly stretched sheet below, where they are then handed to their mothers. This bizarre and dangerous ritual has been practiced for 500 years.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • JB

      That clearly says Hindu...these were Sikhs they are not the same religion. In fact they are not even similar Sikhs are monotheistic and Hindus are polytheistic. Also every religion has people who are what most would consider extremists, there are Christians who believe in faith healers.Who don't treat their cancer or heart disease because God will heal them... just as extreme, just as dangerous. I'm not justifying what this man did, what he did is ridiculous and seriously deranged but that doesn't have anything to do with Sikhs.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Mazal

      Well, the fact is that most Sikhs emanate from India and are a product of a hindu societand culture that practises such rituals. Nothing persoanl, I suppose, just facts.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's not "facts". Sikhs are not Hindus. Furthermore, the "treatment" described is hardly mainstream. The fact that it's news should tell you it's not common.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • atheism is fabulous for kids and all kinds of critters

      "This bizarre and dangerous"

      These words could also be used for instance to describe how a Southern Baptist is seen by a non-Southern Baptist and vice versa. Not very helpful to make generalizations and then call them fact.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  2. Cow in a Bottle ©

    "Amnesty International is calling for an impartial investigation into mass graves found in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Sunday, India's Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission released a report saying a three-year investigation had uncovered 2,156 unidentified bodies in 38 sites in the region. In a statement released Monday, Amnesty International asked Indian officials to allow impartial forensic experts to carry out a thorough investigation of the skeletal remains. The rights group also urged Indian authorities to ensure the safety of the witnesses who gave statements to police during the investigation. Indian authorities conducted the inquiry in response to allegations that Indian security forces have committed rights abuses in fighting a more than two-decade-long Muslim separatist insurgency. Rights activists say at least 8,000 people have gone missing in Indian Kashmir since the separatists began fighting in 1989 for independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Rebel attacks and Indian government crackdowns have killed at least 50,000 people. Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Some information for this report was provided by AP.”

    August 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  3. Say it As You See It

    Actually I was very ignorant in my comment about Muslim's helping to fight communism during the Cold War. That's not true at all. It was the Hindus' and Sikh people that were fighting communists, just as they are now. I should have educated myself better before saying otherwise. Right now India is trying very hard to keep communism from taking over its country.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Say it As You See It

      Another Hindu Indian extremist and mucho terrorist stealing IDs and talking crap. Readers beware.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  4. Reality

    Why some get sensitized to the koranic-driven horror and terror of Islam:

    As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

    23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "
    o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
    The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

    25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT
    (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  5. JJ Vargas

    @Say it......well said. I am glad you spoke up to where others have kept quiet.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Say it As You See It

      I was wrong with my facts. It was the other way around. Hindus' and the Sikh people are the ones that fight communism, not Muslims.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  6. MG

    I agree 100 %.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  7. miguelgenius

    This shooting in Wisconsin has nothing to do with Sikhs. It has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with the fact that Sikhs are NOT white, period. Every single minority group in this country was violated this weeknd. The white supremacist terrorist pig who shot at innocent civilians did so because they were not like him....white.

    We don't need a quick course on what Sikhs practice or why or where. Neither should it matter that they are sometimes mistaken for Muslims... how is that any different. This tragedy would not have been any less an act of cowardice and white terrorism if the innocent victims had been Muslims.

    The victims could just as easily been Jews or Buddists. My point is that the ultimate criterion in the shooter's head was that these folks were, to him, obviously not white.

    We should all be afraid....

    August 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Say it As You See It

      Your point is well taken. However, I resent the fact that Sikhs use being mistaken for Muslims for their problems in America. That is a very sly and cunning way of saying that I am perfect and that others are to blame. Putting other people under the bus and in harm's way. I would suggest that such people look in the mirror and they will find the answer why they are having problems in America.

      Where were the Sikhs, Hindus and Indians when America was fighting the cold war? They were allied with the communists ... the Soviets !!!!! Remember them ???? Helloooo !!!!!

      It was the muslims who were fighting off the communists trying to save the world from communist domination. So say to the Muslims.....Thank you. Thank you for making it possible for us to make it to America to live our dreams. Thank you America for giving us hope. Yes, America is not perfect but it is the best we have got. Take it or leave it.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • ConcernedCiti

      @Say it Like You See Are you serious dude? That is one hell of a specious argument, seems to come from someone who has Moslem terrorist sympathies. While India was sort of aligned with the Soviets (they were really Non Aligned), they did so only cause the erstwhile USSR was only 200 miles from the Indian border in the north, it was a way to keep the peace. India lives in a dangerous and perilous neighborhood, with Pakistan, China and Burma as its neighbors. Did y'all ever notice that since the end of the "Evil Empire", India and the US (they are the world's largest democracies) are big trading partners and have established strong business and cultural ties?? But then again, that requires some thinking and reading, does not come easy to you I guess....

      August 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Cow in a Bottle ©

      @ConcernedCiti...are you kidding us? What is this nonsense you are writing? What are you smoking? Are you saying India is a meekly nation of 1.3 billion people (20 times larger than anyone in the neighborhood!!!!) . Child, ya gotta be kiddin me. Come again, please, after detox.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  8. concerned

    Dear Cat, thank you for your kind words. I wanted to comment on your statement "Since I do not know of your religous beliefs". As you demonstrate with your words, we don't need to know a person's religious belief to know if they are kind, loving, giving. In India I would often hear the shop keepers say, "Is he a GOOD Christian/Muslim/Hindu/Sikh/Jain", etc. This was their short hand for "does he practice his spiritual path" with the implication that anybody that is practicing a spiritual path is attempting to be a better person. It does not matter what a person "believes" when they practice kindness. Kindness and Love are always Kindness and Love. What upsets me is when someone pretends to Kindness and Love when there is an ulterior motive, such as attributing an Olympic victory to God in the hope of a larger endorsement deal. But then we all have our weaknesses and faults and that is what forgiving each other and loving each other (as Christ teaches) is all about. So what upsets me about other people is my personal spiritual issue to overcome. I am not justified in my hatred BECAUSE of my faith, no matter what faith I belong to, since all major religions espouse Love, Kindness and Forgiveness. What is Faith for if not to trust that returning hatred with love will make things better. For instance, (addressing my issues) I object to violent movies which teach the way to deal with someone who you disagree with or who upsets you, is to kill them. As for the issue at hand, the victimized religion was Sikh. What do Sikh's believe? I believe that there is a vibration, a feeling, of Love and that one should cultivate this vibration within myself and share that love with others.
    We sing devotional songs that help create that vibration and we listen to the poetry of many Saints that are recorded in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, our holy text. Personally, I think arguing about which religion is better is like eighth graders arguing which man was the better mathematician Newton, Leibniz, Copernicus or Einstein. Anybody who has simply learned the math these men taught has more to teach the eighth graders than they currently know. So shouldn't religious people spend their time learning to be loving and not fighting over who is better or best? Of course I think my way is best for me. That is why I am what I am, and I expect that this is true for most of us. Thank you Cat for your expression of love and kindness.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • ConcernedCiti

      What wonderful sentiments, it is indeed Love, Kindness and Compassion that all religions teach. Unfortunately the so called guardians of the faiths get caught up in the business of power and politics, and lose the very essence of their religious teachings. Any one espousing hate or discrimination in any manner is not an adherent of their so called religion – he/she is merely a great pretender. Anyways, Love Conquers All, keep on lovin'

      August 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  9. Jesus Christ

    I think that many people forget that we live in a country that is under the rule of something called the Patriot Act. This gives every American citizen the right to report ANY and ALL activity they suspect as possible terrorism to Homeland Security. Many of the hate comments on here are being reported right now, and CNN does have your IP address, even though you might hide behind a silly username. If you are against your government, against freedom of religion in this country or you advocate the violence done to these innocent people in this article, then you might want to go to FOX news and stay there.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jaceb Goerge

      First off, please don't intimidate people from their right to freedom of speech. Intimidation is also a terrorist act and Homeland Security will be made aware of your postings. i suggest you check your facts before ranting on in this forum. This is America. In America we have the First Amendment. This is not India where freedom of speech may or may not exist.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  10. Jesus Christ

    Jane and Kobe are both examples of domestic terrorists. They are spreading absolutely dishonest propaganda (to incite violence and hatred...the definition of a terrorist!) about a cult that has nothing to do with Hinduism...a religion that is OLDER than any religion alive today.
    For other stupid people that think that whatever you find on Google is always right...get a freakin' life!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Jaceb Goerge

      It appears to me that your tactics are representative of what terroists typically do that is to intimidate people. Now buzz off before FBI comes knocking at your door. And then consult your local library for facts and revert back to us with your findings if Google...a US Public Company is not upto your standards.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  11. Sheikh Abar Al Huseine

    After much reading of the comments and watching the news, it is my take that the attacker's motive may have been one of white v. others (to put it mildly) or specifically white v. Sikhs/Indians/Hindus. Since that temple has been in the neighborhood for years, i suppose there was a community outreach by the temple to invite people of other faiths to participate in the activities. If this was the case, ithen t appears that some people may not have liked what they saw. If it wasn't then there is a communication problem. I am sure that the Sikhs do not introduce themselves saying we are Sikhs and we are not Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Rastafarian or Muslims etc. So the point is that to deflect attention from the core issue and blame others by innuendos or by association is disingenuous. Stand up for who you are, what you are, why you are and fight for what you believe in. There will be many tests along the way and many scarifices to give. We are with you and will support you. Our prayers are with all of you.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Louis Drummond

      You make much sense.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  12. Kobe M

    Sikhs are a product of Indian society dominated by a cult like and ancient and barbaric Hindu culture and rituals that are terrorist to say the least. Examples abound but the following is just a a taste of that culture. These are just facts that the American public needs to be aware of. Google does it also. In that society, no one is safe..particulalry kids, women, minorities and the low caste. Why is the American government and human rights organisations quiet about this?

    Bizarre child-burying Hindu ceremony in India
    Indian police have charged 80 people for burying children alive in an ancient Hindu ceremony known as "the festival of pits."
    The ceremony, in which children - some less than a year old - are buried alive briefly and then dug up, happened on Monday in southern Tamil Nadu state, The Asian Age reported on Thursday.

    Every two years, parents who have vowed to bury their first-born if they are blessed with a child, take part in the Kuzhimattru Thiru Vizha ceremony.
    The children are drugged to make them unconscious and placed in shallow "graves" in temple courtyards.
    The pits are covered with leaves and dirt and the children are pulled out after Hindu priests chant a brief prayer - lasting up to a minute.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • M Singh

      The post you have made is not of the Sikh religion, please check your facts. You are posting information about some Hindu cult and that, not even Hinduism.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Jane R

      @Mr. Singh you need to read the comments and the context thereof before reaching conclusions. i have googled the above post and facts and found it to be very accurate. Why don't you check for yourself and revert back to us. You need to get your head out of the sand and stop blowing smoke up American skirts (pardon my lingo). Americans are very logical and starightforward people and don't like to be taken for a ride.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Gaurav Nagar

      What you are doing is called 'stereotyping'. If you had a higher IQ you would know better. Dont like what i said... what i just did was to 'judge' you even though i do not know you. I did that just to make a point.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jane aka Kobe: are you kidding? You don't even troll well.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Amrik

      @ Jane, You don't know anything about Sikhism, as I can see from your post. Please do your research and you'll be amazed to find different. Also, Since when everything posted on internet is credible ? Above mentioned practice is Hindu Practice, probably a cult according to the article.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jane=Kobe M. In other words, a troll.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jane R

      Folks. What is this A=B=C=D? Are Sikhs=Hindus? Ridiculous. Did you google what I asked you to do? Stop lying to the American public and check the facts. Get back to us after you have done so. And quit ducking the issue at hand.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Vivek

      Well, all Indians, including Sikhs, are law abiding citizens/residents of USA and none of them will ever do what you quote. They are all well educated and and also denounce what happens in India to some new born children and that too is a punishable crime in India.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jany Kobe, stop lying. Any bozo who thinks the word "revert" is correct in the context in which you used it is too stupid to understand context of any kind.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Patrick

      I have checked several sources on Google and found your facts to be right on the money. There were facts more terse than the one you posted which I wont repeat here for sake of decorum. Please keep us enlightened. Our government is spendig a ton of American tax payers money in India and we want to be sure that our money is spent on issues that we value and stand for. Women's rights, children's rights, respect for fellow humans and minorities, freedom of speech are very important to Americans

      August 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • ConcernedCiti

      @Patrick @Jane=Kobe Whilst weird cult like practices do happen in India, they are merely an artifact of the local culture of that particular area, and usually NOT sanctioned by either the State or the major religious organizations. I strongly recommend y'all paying a visit to India, you will be surprised by how ultra modern life can be in the major cities. I have found many urban Indians in my travels there to be more compassionate and tolerant of many faiths, than some of our own right wing nuts right here in the good ol' USA. Not to say that we don't have some wonderful people in the US, my point being do NOT generalize a population of 1.1 BILLION people, that is sheer IGNORANCE. Would y'all appreciate if Europeans and Asians called all Americans Gun toting, violent, (we have a few) xenophobic skinheads? I didn't think so......any large nation is very diverse and has the god, bad and ugly, we or India are no exception.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • lovebird1

      Hi Kobe,

      I understand your concern about those issues you mentioned and they are issues that definitely need to be addressed by Indian society (which includes thousands of cultures and religions – not just Sikhism). I am a Sikh and I am against those same things and so are all my sikh friends and family. I would appreciate if you would not judge ME and my friends and family based on actions of people that I am nothing like. The people committing those atrocities are influenced by Culture, not Sikhism. If they were true Sikhs, they could never participate in those activities. In fact, our Sikh teachers created this way of life to fight the same injustices and backwards rituals you speak of. My only guide as a Sikh is our holy book – Read our scriptures if you really want to be educated about us – You will find no words of violence and hate in them. How about you stop sterotyping and get to know a Sikh. Get to know ME. I promise that I would not let you down – I strive to live a life of compassion and humility, which are two basic values of Sikhism. I wish for you peace and understanding. God bless you! <3

      August 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • lovebird1

      It is no wonder that everyone else in the world believes Americans are ignorant – because of people like Kobe and Jane. Sad...

      August 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • ME II

      "The ceremony, in which children – some less than a year old – are buried alive briefly and then dug up, "

      Meanwhile, in a related story, Christian children, some newborns, are ritually drowned and then rescued in a ceremony called "baptism".

      August 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Kobe Jane Patrick Troll, either do a better job of disguising your sock puppets or stop using them. You're embarrassing yourself.

      August 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  13. Roxana

    I think we all know that this crime will be labelled 'terrorism' or 'hate' depending on which is most politically useful to the Left which has been pushing fear of 'militias' since the Clinton Administration. A Muslim American Army officer crying 'Allah Akbar' as he shoots down fellow soldiers doesn't count as terrorism but of course this does – if it's convenient.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      Roxana, you sound like a domestic terrorist yourself. Perhaps Homeland Security should check you out to see why you're so against your government...

      August 7, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • What?

      "The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes."

      Felix Frankfurter, U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What and Roxana are the type who "hate" the government and everything it does until they need its help. They hate security until they are directly affected by a terrorist attack. They hate FEMA until they suffer in a natural disaster. They hate welfare until they need it. They hate SS until they're old enough to collect it. They hate health care until they can't afford insurance. They loathe government "invading" private lives unless it comes to issues like abortion.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  14. JesusChrist

    The problem with America is that it continues to allow domestic terrorism by permitting self-made militias and hate-groups like the skin heads to exist. There's no difference between these "so-called" Americans that want to wreak as much hatred and violence on our own soil than that of a Muslim terrorist overseas.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Roger

      "The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities states and nation."

      John F. Hylan, Mayor of New York 1918 -1925.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      em...no, the real menace would be freaks like you Roger. Another terrorist per chance? You know that under that Patriot Act any American citizen can report ANY suspected activity or person to Homeland Security for possible terrorist actions or speech....

      August 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  15. VF Golden

    I do not think anybody that shoots a person/people or bombs a location deserves the label patriotic before terror. We as a nation have the responsibility to keep our homeland borders safe from this kind of violence. I am sad we are in other countries at this time. I know bad things are happening in other countries, but we are in need of addressing problems in our own country. We are showing signs of weakness that frightens me. In all of the years I have been alive, now is the time I a most afraid for my children and grandchildren. The people we elect are not doing what is best for all. They are being children infighting and screaming I want's all of the time. It must change for our country to become what our forefathers expected of us. We are sadly letting down those great thinks by allowing it to happen. I pray the next step we take will be guided by our faith and the hand of our creator!

    August 7, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      Where is the hand of your creator now? Were you there when the "forefathers" built this country? Did that have a personal deal with me on how they were going to run this country? Why exactly do you believe that your God is the only God an if so, where is he? I'm not wasting my time on you, if you hadn't noticed...I'm not answering anyone's prayers, ergo, the violence in your country.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  16. Rundvelt

    > Unless we acknowledge this attack on the Sikh temple as an act of terrorism, we will essentially be relegating brown-skinned Americans to second-class citizenry by perpetuating the myth that "terrorism" is only a Muslim, Arab or South Asian phenomenon and beyond the pale for any white person to commit.

    What a poor argument. You should be ashamed of yourself. Is this really your best effort?

    August 7, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      It was labeled as Domestic Terrorism by the police and it was exactly that. The monster who did did belonged to a ne0-nazi, white supremacist group called Hammerskin Nation. http://www.adl.org/Learn/ext_us/Hammerskin.asp?LEARN_Cat=Extremism&LEARN_SubCat=Extremism_in_America&xpicked=3&item=hn

      August 7, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Grant

      Yes, it is a case of domestic terrorism. However, please do not try to divert attention from everyday Islamic monopoly on terrorism which accounts for more than 99% of all terrorism. The brightness of a flash light is negligible when compared to that of the Sun.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  17. Rundvelt

    What's sad is that this lawyer bases his argument on "what most americans would think." Sorry, that's not a valid argument there buckaroo, and you should know better.

    The concept of terrorism is based on intent, not based on effect. There is a difference in having someone bomb a building as part of a political agenda compared to someone bombing a building because he's a disgruntled employee. One is terrorism, one is revenge.

    It seems to me that we're becoming too broad with the usage of the word "Terrorism". The problem with this is that if we make the term too broad, it becomes meaningless. A child stabbed another child with scissors, terrorism. The grocery store overcharged you 25 cents for a can of tomatoes, terrorism.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Phil in Oregon

      I just made the same reply to another article. Since terrorists are the worst kind of people, the term is being slapped on anyone the writer wants to vilify, and losing its real meaning in the process.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  18. Bill Maher Nails It


    August 7, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  19. Cat

    Enough people...Do we not have enough arguing, enough finger pointing? This man didn't do this because he was military, he didn't do this because he was Christian..I was military raised, served, and married.Most military are fighting for the rights of all of us to practice freedom and that includes freedom of religion and to most military this was the act of a coward who had no honor! I am Christian and unfortunately we have many claiming to be Christian but who know not the Lord. They live not the lifestyle, read the bible and take scripture out of context so that they can twist it into some self serving purpose and feel justified in their actions. Sound familar? Every religion has zealots...latest example are the muslim extremist but they are a few in the limelight that influence how people think of all muslims. The Jesus of the new testiment loved all...he healed and did miracles but never said I won't help you if you don't worship me. He made a point to love the person but hate the sin and so he helped people and then pointed out to them their sin and told them to do it no more. EIther they listened, or not, the choice was theirs. He tells us that we are to do the same and be examples of Christian love. My heart breaks for these people who lost family and friends...they were good people who deserved to feel safe as I would want and expect to feel safe in my place of worship. My sincerest wishes go out to these people and I want them to know that this is not how the majority of Americans, military, and Christians feel toward you. We may have a differant faith but you are my neighbors and if I lived closer, I would try to help you heal and repair the damages to the best of my ability as I am sure you would if a Christian church was attacked. Since I do not know of your religous beliefs I hope you will accept a prayer and a blessing from my heart to yours...When someone says to me may Allah bless you, or something that is considered an honor within their faith, it may not be my belief but I recognize it for what it is...A blessing from their heart to mine and that is an honor to recieve. I pray that God will heal your wounds...the physical, spiritual, and mental. That he will shower you with love from all those around you in your community. That he will provide help where it is needed most. That he will restore to you faith in people and this country. That he will bless you, your families, and your communities. I urge all who claim to be Americans to stand up against all hate crimes. I urge all Churches to come forth and show the Love God commanded of us for all people! PLEASE, IF SOMEONE KNOWS HOW TO FORWARD THIS TO THE TEMPLE, PLEASE DO SO!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You're right to say it had nothing to do with his belief in a god. All this does is prove extremism and taking things too far. They did announce that he was part of a group based out of Dallas, Texas called Hammerskin Nation...they're a white supremacist, neo-nazi group.
      You'll never find this kind of extremism in a group of non-believers thankfully.

      As for this getting through to the temple...you'd have better look researching them and sending them a direct message...this is a blog, not a message center.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Kaurji

      You can forward your thoughtful wishes and condolences to http://www.groundswell-movement.org/
      You can help, by fostering understanding in your community.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Jane

      Thank you for your heartfelt response Cat. I'm personally an atheist but I have respect for people of all different religions. From a neutral viewpoint it is as sad to see both Christians and Muslims being misinterpreted as hate-filled extremists in these troubled times. I also think it's sad and shocking that this massacre does not seem to be getting as much press as the Aurora massacre in my local media. I live in the deep south, and it just feels like the problems of Sikhs and other people of color is not as 'important' as 'innocent' people being murdered. Even though they're different the people who died at this temple were just as innocent as any of those who were injured/killed in Colorado. I wouldn't call this terrorism, but this is definitely a hate crime and the level of apathy that I've seen from the people around me has been disgusting. Thank you for showing the world what I believe most Christians think/feel Cat.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  20. Cat

    Enough people...Do we not have enough arguing, enough finger pointing? This man didn't do this because he was military, he didn't do this because he was Christian...Most military are fighting for the rights of all of us to practice freedom and that includes freedom of religion

    August 7, 2012 at 6:52 am |
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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.