Opinion - A Sikh Perspective On The King Hearings (Washington DC) | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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Opinion A Sikh Perspective On The King Hearings (Washington DC)


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
A Sikh perspective on the King hearings
Ravdeep Singh

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, will begin holding hearings Thursday on "the extent of the radicalization of American Muslims." Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has characterized the hearings as "a witch hunt." Are they?

King also has said he believes the "self-radicalization" of American Muslims represents "a very small minority" of the overall community. What are the potential consequences of singling out one religious group?

Imagine losing a job, a happy childhood, or even a loved one in the United States because people cannot tolerate the way you look. And imagine the insensitivity of a congressional hearing on the extent of radicalization among American Christians, in light of the fact that many domestic extremists call themselves Christian.

Does this sound far-fetched?

Last Friday, two elderly Sikh friends took their last walk together on a suburban sidewalk near Sacramento, California. Late that afternoon, both of them were gunned down. Surinder Singh (aged 65) died on the spot, and Gurmej Singh (aged 78) sustained critical injuries to his chest.

Many in the Sikh American community are wondering whether these men were targeted because of their turbans, the religious signifiers of Sikh identity. Although the overwhelming majority of Americans who wear turbans are Sikhs, many (if not most) Americans are ignorant about this elementary fact, and are ignorantly prone to associate Sikhs with a handful of turban-clad criminals, who live in faraway lands and call themselves Muslim--the way some members of the Ku Klux Klan call themselves Christian.

Anytime a fanatical tirade or terrorist attack is launched against the United States--and anytime politicians and the mass media stoke sensational fears about the role of Islam in this regard--American Sikhs and Muslims alike pay a heavy price in the form of increased workplace discrimination, rampant school bullying, and even hate crimes. You would think that Americans would not have to endure so much trouble just to enjoy religious freedom.

By vilifying the entire Muslim American community in both the letter and spirit of his upcoming hearings, Congressman Peter King and his supporters could make life palpably worse for Sikhs and Muslims in this country, and give needless propaganda points to terrorists, in ways that fatally undermine homeland security.

As a Sikh, I reject these hearings; they are a broadside (and cheap shot) against an overwhelmingly peaceful religious community and a waste of my taxpayer dollars.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The world goes in circles and history repeats itself. We never learn!

Some of these lessons many thought were thoroughly learned, and never to be repeated.

As in forgetting the lessons of WW II, and the forcible detention of Japanese residents in internment camps.

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