August 6th, 2012
06:32 AM ET

Temple shooting dredges up memories of long history of bias crimes against Sikhs

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN)–Immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist acts, Sikhs came under attack.

Mistaken for Muslims for their beards and turbans, they became ripe targets for zealots seeking revenge.

The first person murdered in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks was a Sikh – a gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, named Balbir Singh Sodhi who was shot five times by aircraft mechanic Frank Roque.

In the intervening years, the Sikh Coalition, a New York-based advocacy group, reported more than 700 attacks or bias-related incidents.

Some Sikhs had their houses vandalized; others were spat upon. In some extreme cases, Sikhs were set upon by groups of people and beaten.

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. iluv_USA

    Message to Sikhs. USA is a great country & we Sikhs love this country. Sikhs need to play their role in removing Ignorance prevailing amongst racist or militant groups by reaching out to militant groups, connecting with them & informing them – that i) We are NOT Muslims. We were born out of Hinduism as a part of anti-fanatic-Muslim movement in India 5 centuries ago. This is a fact & by revealing a fact you are NOT giving a message that it is OK to kill Muslims ii) Killing any human is wrong – whether Muslim or Sikh or any other.

    Daily prayer of Sikhs calls for “good, well-being, benefit, welfare, benevolence for EVERYONE i.e. all humans, animals, birds, nature etc. We believe in community service. Many Sikhs wear turban & have beard. Sikh turban is NOT Taliban or Muslim turban. Sikhs served in World Wars I & II. Just like American people, Sikhs have suffered at the hands of fanatic Muslims; from 15th century till now. Hindus suffered at the hands of fanatic Muslims since the last 11 centuries. It is real tragic that we Sikhs are misunderstood & mistaken as Muslims. Sikhs have no enmity with mainstream peaceful Muslims or any other religion.

    August 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      August 10, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  3. Everett Wallace

    have no mercy for these mooooooslims.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  4. rajiv90210

    Governments all over the world are the biggest sponsor of "terrorism" of any kind and unfortunately also racism. American presence in Afghanistan fuels anger with the Taliban which leads to attacks against American troops and NATO forces. This in turn leads to more anger and hatred from far-right and anti-immigrant groups against innocent people and ethnic groups who have nothing to do with the imperialist war America and the West is waging againt Muslims and Asians. Every government should try and mediate through dialogue, peace and mutual understanding of cultures and beliefs. Until that happens, I am afraid we will see more of these attacks.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:09 am |
  5. Ranjit Singh

    I am Christian and a white male, believe in white supremacy.
    Like to kill everyone who is not a Christian, but then there are whites who are not Christian, I will end up killing so many whites.
    I will only kill those who are not white, but then there are so many Christian who are not white. I will end up killing so many Christian.
    Oh, maybe I should kill only those wore turban and have long bearded. But then there are so many Christian and whites who wear turban or have long bear. Jesus wore turban and kept long hair non white and was long bearded too.
    I am confused.
    Maybe I should kill myself?
    I am an American and I came to America 100’s of years ago. I don’t own this land. No one has given me right or transferred a deed on my name of America.
    America belongs to everyone regardless race, color, religion, or nationality, and if I will have problem with that maybe I should look for another planet to migrate.

    August 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

      "America belongs to everyone regardless race, color, religion, or nationality"

      I don't know about the nationality part? America belongs to Americans.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Roger

      "We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans..." 

      Bill Clinton USA Today; 3/11/93, page 2a.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  6. William Demuth

    So another right wing Jeebus freak goes mad.

    The story remains the same.

    Perhaps Christianity just attracts a naturaly bigoted breed of mental patients?

    Well, I guess the race baiting has spread, and now they kill any religion other than Christianity, rather than just Jews.

    When will we ever grow up as a society, and hold these madmen accountable?

    August 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

      So where did Christ command his followers to kill anyone? If one is a Christian which means a follower of Christ...you must have some justification for that statement? Where are Christians commanded to kill people of other religions or no religion?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!


      LOL. You must be kidding! omg. So the various Inquisitions must have really been a slumber party! And.. oh forget it, if you are asking that you are extremely christarded. Did you study any history??

      August 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Roger

      2 Peter 2:12  But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

      August 7, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  7. Hypatia

    More xian hate hand in hand with guns and murder. What a charming faith and such nice people. NOT.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • oralisM

      A little trivia that may or may not apply, I was in Texas and learned I could take a long gun into church with me (AR15, AK etc.) but if wanted to take my Glock I would have to take a class and get a CHL.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:20 am |

      So where did Christ command his followers to kill anyone? If one is a Christian which means a follower of Christ...you must have some justification for that statement? Where are Christians commanded to kill people of other religions or no religion?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  8. William Demuth

    My guts say Hutaree.

    I suggest my fellow non-believers take a few minutes to become familiar with them.

    A particularly dangerous from of Christian lunatic that is prevalent in that neck of the woods.

    A friend has advised of LOTS of F.B.I. activity in those field offices.

    Expect raids quite soon.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Huebert

      Reuters reported that the gunman had ties to both skinhead and neo-nazi groups.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • .

      You atheists are the terrors in our country, as well as others.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • rAmen

      yes, that's why we occupy 1% of the US population

      August 6, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Huebert

      Here is the link


      @ dot
      citation or GTFO

      August 6, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • rAmen

      prison population, that is

      August 6, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • .

      rAmen, you still spread the lies of the IJs as their sleep cells. Oh, but, you profess that you are so smart, free speech, free will. You're slaves to the liars of this world.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • K-switch

      So Dot, who are these "IJs" you keep referring too?

      August 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • .

      I am Unknown, Clown Bro etc. I am boring with my posts. I am a child.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • K-switch

      Unknown etc. usually has a name displayed as the blue link. But who cares anyway, quacks like a duck and all.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  9. Rainer Braendlein


    I agree with you. A ruler of a state or an administration of a state should only reward virtue, and punish injustice. Concerning the faith there should be absolute freedom.

    It is only if someone (any ordinary citizen of a state) would make a serious, honest research which faith really improved the lifes of people, he would get an astonishing result.

    I only cannot stand when someone lumps together all beliefs, that is nonsense.

    One example: You cannot justify the murder of infidels by the Christian doctrine, never, because Jesus only cured and loved people. In contrast, in the Koran there are many suras which require a Muslim to kill infidels. Which faith is better?

    Yet, although the Muslims have such a moronic book, dropped down from heaven (allegedly), I will love them, and to them no harm, but only good. When they start to behead me, I call SWAT.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      If you agree that only those who just stick with only the good parts of Jesus' teachings will lead to unity for all men then I'm right there with you. However by that logic Secular Humanists are also on the right track. We could just dispel with the Bible entirely and still retain those values. It is in the worship of a monotheistic god that the troubles arise. It is in how one goes about properly appeasing the demands of this one true god that division occurs. Lose the god and the proper moral position remains. Be good, cause as little harm as possible and work to promote equality and peace for all. Believers are quick to point to brutal atheistic regimes as supposed examples of where godless equates to evil but these were clearly not humanist atheists but driven by totalitarian or fascist ideologies.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      I just make use of my religious freedom:

      I conceive myself to be a Christian, although often in hard struggle with my inherited sinfulness. Yet, the Christian doctrine is that you actually are not able to do works of love and righteousness by your natural power (I find that this theory fits together with daily experience, because mostly we meed egoistic and angry people). We have inherited the sinful nature of a certain Man, who did not find it necessary to appreciate God's presence and friendship. As this certain man forsake God, the Life and the Love, he degenerated, and became sinful (sinful acts are acts against love and righteousness).

      Only in God's presence, the Life and the Resurrection, we can be righteous, and without Him we are dead, sinful bodies in ourselves.

      If we believe that God gave his precious Son Jesus for us, we return into God's confident community, and receive health for our ill souls. God can change our hearts from selfishness to love.

      This theology is too high for a politican, of course, and nobody requires an ordinary politican to understand that. If a politican rewards righteousness, and punished injustice, he does enough.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      And therein is the major difference between you and I. I don't for one second believe we are inherently sinful. To me it doesn't make sense that we are all fallen because of the actions of one man. Even less sense that god felt it necessary to send and sacrifice his son to appease that action. It is this doctrine of first telling you that you are broken, then offering the fix, that from my perspective points to the manipulation in the extreme. If it eases your conscience to believe such things then so be it and good for you.. I prefer not to be coerced in such a fashion to reconcile the benefits vs. harms in society. I choose not to believe in the existence of an absolute good vs. evil as it too often leads to gross exploitation and abuses of human rights and freedoms.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      "To me it doesn't make sense that we are all fallen because of the actions of one man."

      The funny thing is that "allegedly" at first there were only to human beings, and we are their biological descendants.

      Hence, if you imply that the Fall also affected the biological body, it becomes understandable that we have inherited Adam's sinfulness.

      People which weaken their body by fasting make the experience that they become more able to overcome sin. Seemingly, the sin indeed dwells in our limbs, this is our biological body, made of flesh and blood.

      And, ain't I right that often children inherit negative characteristics of their parents? That is reality.

      Hence, it is not irrational to believe in the Fall, and thus in the inherited sinfulness which we only can overcome step by step through a new second nature which God gives us.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • rAmen

      lol, what's the difference between a christian saying the christian terrorists (still unknown for this case, but take Andres Breivik for example) aren't real Christians and the Muslims say that the Muslim terrorists aren't real Muslims? Nothing really, they are all "no true scotsman" fallacy. no, your religion is not really better than any others, stop trying to convince non-believers that your religion doesnt promote violence using your ancient texts, try to convince the extremists.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • .

      ASteve you know nothing, only the ways of man. It's Jesus' teaching that taught you. Thank God your parents weren't atheists, then you'd be floundering for sure.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • rAmen

      Jesus taught Steve? why do you assume Steve is mexican and his father is Jesus?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Rainer Braendlein wrote:

      "You cannot justify the murder of infidels by the Christian doctrine, never, because Jesus only cured and loved people."

      Jesus, the man, did seem to have this ideal. Too bad it didn't turn out that way and so few heeded his words since. Christianity has to be one of the world's most hypocritical religions. Worse today than ever.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      All throughout the OT, Ranier. (Admonisitions to kill the unbeliever) and in Paul's epistles. Go and read your book again. I'm sure you can find it.

      FIND me a mainstream Christian religion* that tosses out all the Old Testament and the worst of Paul's writings then. REMOVES and EXCLUDES them from the bible. As long as those writings are in your holy book, they apply.

      Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have their roots in the same area, and many of the same writings.

      * – oh, btw, you can find a bunch of splinter christian groups run by neo nazis what toss out the OT. Because it's "Jewish". But I think we can steer clear of the neo nazis right about now.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  10. Rynomite

    Interesting how when non-Christians are attacked and killed by someone, that the U.S. media and the majority of their people refer to their attackers as "nutjobs" or "white supremacists". Whereas if it's a muslim who does the attacking, then they are a terrorist. Let's call it like it is. Christian Terrorist.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • oralisM

      A bit shakey in your reasoning, aren't you Rynomite? You leap from white supremacist, which is how this nutjob was described, to Christian.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • William Demuth


      Many would assume me a WS.

      White, shaved head, goatee, big, mean, and angry. Educated in the arts of mayhem, with an education to make me quite dangerous. I know WS's well, having drank with them, shot with them, and even fought with them. I know their woman intimately and I have even gone to their kids birthday parties.

      I know their drugs and how to make them, I know all their militia’s and militant mindsets. In fact I know their beliefs as well as my own.

      Rest assured, they are 100 percent Christian (most evangelical). Even the SLIGHTEST indication you are anything else, and you are in trouble.

      If you are Jewish, you are probably dead.

      Most have a serious lack of education, and are QUITE radicalized

      They are Just Nazi’s who hate black people as well. That is not flowery speech, it is a HARSH reality, They are actively engaging in sedition, drug distribution and manufacturing, and are regularly modifying guns (silencers, modify trigger sears and such) and building explosives.

      They also love Jesus.

      Somehow I am not surprised.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      Many white supremists are now adopting Norse and German mythology as their religion, so saying that they are all Christian isn't necessarily true.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      That should be supremacists.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • William Demuth

      Rational Libertarian

      Nonesense. Read Mein Kampf or the Turner Diaries, or any of a thousand others.

      Germanic references are merely to identify the purer strains of humans.

      People here can bloviate all they want, I have watched the crosses burn with my own eyes. I have seen the toilet paper with the Israeli flag. I have sat and watched 8 year olds taught to shoot at targets or Menachem Begin and Jesse Jackson (And now Barrack Obama.

      Visit the southern poverty law center, or Binai Brith for the truth.

      It should scare you

      August 6, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      And if at the end of their investigation it becomes known that this guy was indeed a bible toting Jesus lover then you will no doubt claim that he was not a real christian...predictable.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It's not nonsense. Many white supremacists are beginning to identify with Odinism.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Topher

      He might or might not claim to be a Christian, but no one who has read the Bible and truly follows Jesus is OK with killing.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • .

      Odds he is/was a Christian.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Topher..interesting comment.. I have read some of the bible and I am still not OK with killing.. As children appear to actually be born Christian or Muslim or Jewish or whatever.. and one assumes they have not read the holy book in the uterus, why would you actually need to read the book at all? Are all religious children rampant potential murderers until they can read.?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    We need to learn to destinguish between a person and his or her faith. Of course, everybody is worth of our unbiased love, independent from his belief,nationality, status, coulor, ... , because of his human dignity which God gave him. The human dignity overtrumps all destinctions, and should lead us to unbiased love.

    Ineed, 9/11 was committed by "model Muslims" which took their faith serious, and obeyed Muhammad and the Koran. According to the Koran (not according to the Bible) they will certainly get into heaven, and have a lot of pleasure with virgins. Nevertheless, not every Muslim believes that, and even if he believes it, we are obliged to free him from his error. Of course, as long as a "model Muslims" doesn't act according to his faith, we should not punish him, but try to free him from is false beliefs by deliberate, peaceful conversation..

    Don't let us take revenge upon Muslims or Sikhs, but enlighten them about their errors. Of course, when a Muslim has yet started to obey Muhammad and the Koran, and kills infidels, he is a case for SWAT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    August 6, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • oralisM

      Rainer, Just as a reasonable man might choose to go through life without legs, one can choose freedom FROM religion. Break the chains.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "Also it should be allowed to say that religions which promote bigotry and fanaticism cannot be very advanced"

      So your own religion can't be very advanced then can it? It promotes all of those things and then some.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Even if the entire country was merely Christian all the problems you point out would still remain. Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Amish, Jehovahs, Mormons etc all disagree on who is correctly following Jesus' teachings. Not to mention the other 2 Abrahamic religions of Judaism(where Christianity gets it's roots) and Islam . All have fundamental extremists within their numbers and none represent even close to a majority consensus.
      When you create an exclusive group(which each different sect represents) you necessarily exclude all others thereby causing strife, mistrust and inevitable disastrous clashes. There is no unified Christian viewpoint even within a single sect. Each defines their own religious worldview to suit their own scruples. That's why we accuse believers of cherry picking the bible to suit their purposes because that's precisely what they do.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • .

      Rainer, when are you going to open your eyes and acknowledge what the false preachers are teaching for the last 50 years? The ways of man, not Jesus' scriptures.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • .

      IIf you do not wear diapers like Christ, you are not following Jesus's Truth.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:55 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.