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August 29th, 2012
11:09 AM ET

My Faith: My Sikh prayer for the Republican National Convention

Editor's note: Ishwar Singh is the president of the Sikh Society of Central Florida and owns a small business called Industrial Scan, Inc.

By Ishwar Singh, Special to CNN

I am honored to be the first Sikh American in U.S. history to deliver the invocation at a national convention. On Wednesday, I will offer a prayer at the Republican National Convention from my Sikh faith.

The prayer calls upon the American public to join with us in recognition that we are one family. As an immigrant, a small-business owner and a father, I am humbled by the opportunity to address the nation. When I came to this country over 40 years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the honor of offering a prayer for the nation. My story is possible only in America.

My prayer will be an opportunity to share the spirit of the Sikh faith with the American people. The tenets of Sikhism - humility, equality, and justice - lie at the heart of the American ethic.

For more than 100 years, Sikhs have lived, worked, and worshipped in America as farmers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, artists and more. We see ourselves as part of one America. On Wednesday, I’ll be honored to stand as a proud Sikh with my turban and beard as a fellow American.

Opinion: Is Sikh-led prayer at RNC a hollow gesture?

Unfortunately, the recent mass shooting of Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and attacks on mosques across the nation call us to recommit to a vision of unity.

These acts are just the most recent in a history of violence against our community. In the aftermath of the Iran hostage crisis, the first Gulf War, the Oklahoma City bombing, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, subsequent wars, and the controversy over the so-called “ground zero mosque,” Sikhs have been on the receiving end of hate.

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I hope that my presence Wednesday on the national stage will play a small part in helping Sikhs - and people of all races, faiths and orientations - be seen as part of the great American family. We Sikhs draw strength from the nonpartisan support we have received in response to the terrible tragedy in Oak Creek.

On the Republican side, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Rep. Paul Ryan, and now the Republican National Committee have extended a hand of friendship. On the Democrats’ side, President Obama ordered flags flown at half-staff and Attorney General Eric Holder and first lady Michelle Obama have visited Oak Creek to mourn with us and express their support.

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

After Wednesday, I hope that we will see more engagement and inclusion. I hope our elected officials will stand against hateful speech this election season. I hope that the government tracks hate crimes specifically against Sikhs and that Sikhs will be considered eligible to serve this country, as we have served so many others, in the police and armed forces.

I hope that our children and grandchildren will be permitted to be full and equal members of this great American family. As our first teacher, Guru Nanak, and the founders of our faith taught us: I see no stranger.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ishwar Singh.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Sikh

soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. Anon

    Welcome to 'MURICA the land of the brainwashed zombie Jew worshipers.

    August 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  2. onehippypoet

    A is for the awful things they say here
    T is for the terror that they spread
    H is for the horrors that they swear by
    I is for the innocents they've bled
    E is for the ease that they can lie with
    S is for the Satan that they sere
    T is for the trillions that they've killed here
    ... murders, that no one did deserve
    Put them all together they spell atheist
    The ones who made this world run red

    August 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Crusades (1095-1291)
      • First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
      • Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]
      • 9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]
      • Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]
      • after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
      Here the Christians "did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies," according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]
      • Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine "the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians" said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]
      • Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
      (In the words of one witness: "there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Savior’s tomb, to honor it and to pay off our debt of grat.i.tude")
      • The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished." [TG79]
      • Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition". One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]
      • Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered "in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ". [WW45]
      • Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
      • Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]

      August 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Anon

      Lunge yourself into a volcano with a bible rammed up your ass.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      @chris...
      bull sh it
      work of atheists

      August 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @onehippypoet

      Reality is terrifying huh.

      You are disrespecting the good name of hippypoet whom me miss.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Anon

      Fu*k Jesus, even a clown can offer better advice.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      yeah ain't it grand

      August 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      This coming from a grown person who believes there is a demon living in the after life waiting to torture us.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @onehippypoet,

      ah the trials and tribulations of your tract-o-matic copy/paste button.

      actually you spelled (at least twice now)

      A-T-H-I-E-S-T

      which presumably means something that is the most ATHI it can be.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mr.Mingle,

      doubtless there were many iniquities commited under the motto "Deus Vult", like the sack of Jerusalem in the 1st crusade and the slaughter of prisoners at Acre ordered by Richard Coeur de Lion, but the reaper did not claim 20 milliion – even across all the years of the Crusades.

      A more reasonable estimate is more like 200,000. Add up all the 'hard' numbers you have and you are not even close. The size of the Latin army in the first crusade is ~35,000. There's only so many people they could put to the sword.

      Even though the Crusades happened on and off over centuries and numbers do add up, the WORLD population in the year 1100 was around 320 million. 20 million casualties is a pretty big number.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      That is not what Billy told me!

      August 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      EX EVANGELICAL FORTUNE COOKIE WRITER ALERT!

      (But the misspelling of atheist and the reference to trillions did give me a laugh. Who do you think you are fooling??)

      August 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Anon wrote: Fu*k Jesus, even a clown can offer better advice.

      Now you're just being ugly, but more importantly, just don't give me one of those Stephen King clowns.

      August 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  3. Anon

    The GOP can go fu*k themselves with their big book of myths.

    August 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Dippy

      C'mon, Anon. The word is "fucked" You don't need to disguise it.

      August 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Anon

      I do that to bypass sort off the censorship. CNN seriously doesn't let me post when writing that specific swear words.

      August 30, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  4. RJR

    ChristardMingle.com – Yeah, like that BSNBS pabulum – just what I'm talking about. Sad indeed. Stay miserable

    August 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Do you mean MSNBC? dipschit

      August 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  5. JohnnyInSNJ

    Oh that's so adorable. The Sikh community actually thinks the GOP cares about them.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  6. tammy lambert az

    Wearing a turban into a GOP convention??? you are a brave man...

    August 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  7. JannatSent

    @Bev

    We muslims are on these articles to ensure Mohammad is still a respectable prophet. You need to start your walk with Mohammad and not Jesus or some pagan gods. An infidel bomb hit our cashuba and USA did $1,000,000 worth of improvements. This is an aid from Allah. Do you have what it takes to pass?

    Allah O Akbar.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @JannatSent

      You think you are very clever stealing my handle tommie tom but soon you will have your own personal worm in hell. My camel-toe is home to a litter of kittens. Keep believing the lies of the talmud and you will find yourself on the wrong side of the fence.

      Amen.

      August 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • nk

      Wait, so the United States is Allah?

      Needless to say we are disappointed in our creations.

      Achhhhhmen

      August 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • JannatSent

      @HeavenSent

      Moron *cough* Akbur what did you learn in your life beside walking around in black cassock of death. I am JannatSent and your HeavenSent. You preach Jesus I preach Allah. Tommie tom soon you will have your own personal pig worm right here on Earth. My camel is home too.

      Allah O Akbur.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @JannatSent

      You should start your walk with Jesus Scotty. You already got thrown off the other web sites for running off all the Christians. I still can't find my lady parts. Stop believing the lies of the talmud and learn to believe in Jesus' truth, the bible.

      Amen.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • sam

      Ok, I have to admit this was worth a good laugh.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  8. southernwonder

    my hindu friend says the original band of sikhs were raised from among hindus to specifically fight to defend hindu civilization from invading muslim huns. thes hindus put on tubans and beards to look ferocious to invaders. but it did not work very well as muslims of mideast were too well organized to run over india.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • total fail

      you'd do better at writing stuff if you weren't illiterate.

      August 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • UK Sikh

      I speak as a Sikh born and raised in the UK. As the Sikh religion did originate in India our forefathers will have been from Hindu AND Muslim faiths. The reason we wear turbans is so that we stand proud of what we are and so that we can't hide from it, even if we wanted to. It has nothing to do with inspiring fear in others . In India, the turban has traditionally been been seen as a symbol of dignity, pride and respect which is why you will often find non-Sikhs in India will also wear turbans on special occasions such as weddings etc.

      Yes it is true we are a martial race – we are supposed to be able to defend ourselves and the oppressed weak that cannot defend themselves. However, we were not 'raised from among hindus to specifically fight to defend hindu civilization from invading muslim huns'. Yes we have been warriors, however, we were not founded as warriors simply to defend the hindus so I fear your friend has misinformed you.

      I suggest that you read books to learn history and not rely solely on ill-founded opinion.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Abdullo

      Turbans or beards have nothing to do with any religions. Wearing turbans or growing beards was a common thing among all men from all nations in those days.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  9. Alien Orifice

    Who's the dumbest folks of all?

    Christians! Christians!

    Who believes in ghosts and all?

    Chistians do, yoo hoo!

    Who drinks blood and likes flesh raw?

    Chistians! Christians!

    Give them the facts but they ignore...

    Christians that's who!

    August 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • laodegan

      Who are the most hate filled people on the planet?

      Anti-Christians! That's who!

      August 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @laodegan

      Who's too lazy to use their brain?

      Christians! Christians!

      Who thinks god can make it rain?

      Christians! Christians!

      Myths and Legends are meant for kids!

      Chistians! Yes Chrisians...

      But they shut close their ears and their eye lids.

      Chistians, woo hoo!

      The

      August 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  10. obsthetimes

    These guys won't rest until they have a sikh face on the dollar bill

    August 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • obsthetimes

      and a national holiday on one of their religious days.

      August 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi prayer-bot

      August 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  12. Alien Orifice

    The vestiges of pagan religion in Christian symbolism are undeniable. Egyptian sun disks became the halos of Catholic saints. Pictograms of Isis nursing her miraculously conceived son Horus became the blueprint for our modern images of the Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual – the miter, the altar, the doxology, and communion, the act of "God-eating" – were taken directly from earlier pagan mystery religions.

    Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras – was called the Son of God and the Light of the World, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. The newborn Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianity's weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Bread from heaven .. Akkadian
      Talking snakes .. Babylonian
      Flood .. Gilgamesh Epic/Sumeria
      Trees that have death causing fruit .. Babylonia
      women born from ribs . Sumeria
      Eve, mother of all ... Sumeria
      death by eating stuff, from forbidden plants .. Sumeria
      bread of heaven..Sumeria
      water of life..Sumeria
      plants which offer immortality, and snakes which bring about death..Sumeria
      No pattern here ???

      August 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  13. .o.

    lol. my sikh prayer . . .

    any prayer is sick. but for a repub. convention you get like triple sick power.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  14. RJR

    It must be really sad existence for so many of the posters on this website. To be so cynical about absolutely ANYTHING that has the slightest chance to shed favorable light on the GOP. Forcrissakes, don't you have any humanity? Is everything a veiled scheme to you to be ridiculed? Can't you just accept people for what they say? Did you even follow the community reaction to the tragedy in Oak Creek earlier this month, the outpouring of support to the Sikhs from the largely white community? (Most of whom were suburban republicans, I might add, including Gov. Scott Walker) You've been so brainwashed to demonize and pit one group of people against the other – divide and cobble – just because you disagree with a point of view that simply wants the government to stop taking over people's lives? You're just pitiful.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Republican want government to stop taking over peoples lives?

      When they stop controlling who can and can't be married, quit trying to take away a woman's right to choose, allow stem cell research and quit decimating Medicare then we can talk.

      August 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  15. TomJohnn

    Transparent attempt to display tolerance. Laughable, really.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  16. ja

    all of the mentioned atrocities were commited by affiliates of the gop, due to overall message delivered by extremists such as palin, trump, limbaugh and many others, in the days of lincoln the republican party was compassionate, in reagan days it was totally different,

    August 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  17. MissouriBoy

    As long as the Sikh's don't mind that they are considered pagan's by most of the people at the convention, good for them. Since Sikh's don't worship Jesus, the one Christian God, and don't believe the bible has all the answers, they can never really be Republicans. Only good Christians (and Mormons who believe in an extra Jesus named Smith) can be good GOP members.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • sam

      @RKF please tell me you did not really just post your real info on here. Do you not have a shred of self preservation or common sense?

      August 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  18. ChristardMingle.com

    When you look at different religions, they usually contain "magic." For example:

    • The Mormon religion contains the magical golden plates, the magical angel, the magical seer stones, the magical ascension of the plates into heaven, etc.

    • The Muslim faith contains the magical angel, the magical flying horse, the magical voices, the magical prophet, etc.

    • The Christian faith contains the magical insemination, the magical star, the magical dreams, the magical miracles, the magical resurrection, the magical ascension and so on.

    The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary." For example, how do we know that Santa is imaginary? Because (among other things) he has eight magical flying reindeer. How do we know that Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairy tale? Because (among other things) the story contains magical seeds. In the same way, how do we know that God is make believe? Because God is surrounded by magic.

    According to believers, God is an all-powerful being who has the divine, magical power to do anything. How do we know that this belief is a fairy tale? One way to know is to try to invoke God's magical power. For example, the Bible tells us in many places that God answers prayers. However, whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary. The magical powers ascribed to him are a fairy tale.

    Another way to know is to read the stories of magical events in the Bible. There is the magical flood, yet we know with certainty that the flood never happened. There are the magical miracles of Jesus, but (predictably) none of these miracles left behind any tangible evidence. There is the magical resurrection, yet there is zero evidence that it ever occurred and no reason to believe it.

    God is identical to Leprechauns, mermaids and Santa. God is a magical fairy tale creature. The magic surrounding God tells us that God is imaginary.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Anon

      Yep, they're all fu*ked up in the head without even realizing it.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  19. crappygovernment

    Multiculturalism is a failure. Why can't Americans and Western Europeans vote down this crap?

    August 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    the Republican party has finally realized they can't win with only straight, white males voting for them. this is their attempt at outreach, a sort of damage control. so here's where the republicans pretend they care about someone they don't.

    August 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • sam

      As long as it looks good, right? I mean...actually caring takes time and sincerity. But there's no money in it.

      August 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • jellylee2020

      At first I thought maybe it's a guilt thing since the GOP knows deep down that they are responsible for the shooting ultimately for their relentless promotion of racial intolerance, gay bashing, repressing women and curtailing religious freedom of any faith other than fundamental cultist Christianity but then I remembered GOP has no conscience so it must be a political thing.

      August 29, 2012 at 5:19 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.