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Sikhi vs Islam - I never thought I would be in this position to need to explain...

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Harkiran Kaur, May 31, 2013.

  1. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I never realized just how many people in the general population lump Sikhi and Islam together... or even worse, mistake Sikhi AS Islam... as if it were the same thing and not a separate religion.

    I have posted on my Facebook for the last year or so, and everyone on there knows I have embraced the Sikh faith. I have on my Facebook list quite a few of the people I work with in the military, including from when I was on the submarine.

    I went back there yesterday to the submarine squadron for an appointment, and I was confronted by people exclaiming I was a Muslim... which kind of shocked me. I never thought I would be in this position to need to educate people about the difference. First of all, I am very PRO equality between women and men (one of the main reasons I became one of the first ever women to qualify on submarines in the first place, in an environment that was previously men only!). The guys KNOW I am pro equality!!! So how would they think I would embrace a religion that puts women in their place, as subordinate to men, and makes them cover themselves up and hide women from society??

    So I had to explain yet again, that the two religions are from two different continents, are two different ethnicities, and opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to equality and ONEness. Even the concept of the creator are polar opposites (Muslims believe Allah is separate from creation, while we believe Waheguru is within creation and all of us).

    When I was asked about hijab etc I really didnt know how to react. I just explained the difference and something I found was that the similarities between the words 'Sikh' and 'Sheik' seem to at least in part wrongly link the two religions! They kept saying 'Sheik' which is a Muslim celric (I think)?

    Anyway I think things like World Religion Day need to work to explain the differences... and keep in mind I am not putting Islam down... but I just do not want to be associated with it for obvious reasons - it's not what I believe!

    In your opinion, how do you think we can educate people about the Sikh religion and what the beliefs are, and who are followers etc? In general I mean... so that the general public would know at least that it's not Islam? Because people in general public obviously know the difference between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam... even Hinduism and Buddhism are known in general. We need to get the word out about who Sikhs are!
     
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  3. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Bhenji

    maybe we should start educating Sikhs first that they are not Hindus or Muslims and it would trickle down to everyone else! lol
     
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  4. Rory

    Rory
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    It sounds like this is just a job you're going to have to do yourself Akashaji. When people misunderstand you, widen their knowledge and give them a good explanation of what you believe and give them a lot of chances to ask questions.

    I noticed that when people tell others about their beliefs they give the other person very few chances to input an opinion or question, so just keep that in mind. Don't barrage people with information.

    Above all it shouldn't matter to you what other people think, but I'm sure if you explain your beliefs in a calm and non-frustrated way, people will be really happy for you and they'll be really happy to hear about Sikhi. Whenever I tell people about Sikhi they find it hard to believe at first that there's this amazing beautiful interesting religion that they never heard of.

    On the issue of Sheikh vs. Sikh: a Sheikh in Islam is a person of knowledge, one who dedicated their life to studying Islam so they can be a source of answers to their community. A Sheikh and Imam can be very similar and often, a Sheikh is also an Imam. (Imam is one who leads the congregation in prayer).
    If you want to explain the difference between Sikh and Sheikh, then it's very easy; a Sikh (pronounced like "seek" or sometimes "sick") is a person who follows the religion Sikhism. Sheikh (pronounced "shake", not "sheek" - this is a good distinction) is a Muslim scholar.

    Just tell them when they ask about it, or if it becomes apparent that they are confused. The majority of people just don't care about knowing the difference and there isn't anything you can do about that as much as you want to. Some people just don't want to learn about other religions, they just have no interest.
    So all you can do is be a welcoming and friendly person so that people who have questions will see you as someone they can chat to. Remember to listen as much as you talk.

    And congratulations with your military work! :mundakhalsaflag:
     
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  5. aristotle

    aristotle
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    I remember reading an article in 'The Tribune' some years back about a young Sikh man living in south U.S. and how people would approach him by asking "Are you muslim? I mean Islam or something?"
    I must say cultural ignorance is not limited to the west. In India too, most people can't tell the difference between Jews and Parsis, they are ignorant about the Bahai faith even when the Bahai temple is one of the poster buildings of Delhi and so forth.
    Religious awareness has to travel a long long way...
     
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  6. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Actually I plan on seeing the Bahai Temple while I am in New Delhi this fall... it's the Lotus Temple... I want to see it because of the architecture! :)
     
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    #5 Harkiran Kaur, May 31, 2013
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  7. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Akasha ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    It is a bit odd that your Canadian brethren and sisters in arms would react in such a manner about Sikhi. Normally Canadians are more educated than the Americans and know the difference between Sikhs and Muslims, also there is a larger population of Sikhs in Canada.

    It may have been that you being a Caucasian Sikh has abandoned them by adopting another "culture" which you and I know is utter nonsense. Many of your mates may not have set a foot at their own respective religious places for a long time.

    One more point in my opinion that can not be ignored is that Muslims do not want the distinction between them and us because it gives them ammo to blame the whites for not being able to see the difference hence ignorant. To put is bluntly, they are hiding themselves with their burkas on (many terrorist Islamist men use Burquas to pretend they are women in order to hide and/or escape) behind our turbans. For them, it is a great thing that Sikhs become victims after any carnage committed by the Muslims takes place.

    My son is graduating from High school this year. He went to see his teachers at his Middle school on the other day to thank them. He is a sentimental kind in this way. He also visited his Elementary school.

    At the Middle school he was visiting, someone perhaps a 6th grader yelled at him by the name Osama. He gently called him and said that he knows the Dean and is going to report him. The guy ran away immediately.

    He was laughing about it because the walls if the hallways of his Middle school are plastered with his pictures with the Patka on when he won Debates and Mock trial competitions. It does not bother him now but it did when he was in Middle School.

    How can one teach a six year old whose parents are not even exposed or interested in things outside their realm?

    But, in your case, the true ignorance is shown by your own peers, sad to say. I know you can handle these things well because deep down you are a fly swatter, by only using your bare hands.:)

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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    #6 Tejwant Singh, May 31, 2013
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  8. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    You must. It is a gorgeous place.
     
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