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Sikh News Granthi Ji Of The Dhaka Gurudwara Wins Hearts In Muslim Bangladesh


News from the Dhaka Sikh Gurudwara, Bangladesh

DHAKA - Practicing what he preaches has won Sikh priest Bhai Piara Singh many admirers in Dhaka, the capital of overwhelming Muslim Bangladesh.

Singh came to Bangladesh eight years ago from India to head the main Gurdwara, or Sikh temple, in Dhaka, where his doctrine of peace and generosity to all mankind has made its mark on Bengalis of all faiths -- and helped keep his community safe.

"People respect us," Singh told Reuters. "Often I get a chance to speak at inter-religion discussions."

"Never we had a communal problem nor did I hear of any. People of all religions visit us. Muslims often donate (money) to help us run the Gurdwara," he added.

Sectarian violence has often erupted in impoverished Bangladesh, which is also wracked by political unrest. Sunni Muslim militants have attacked other Muslim sects and bombed churches within the past few years.

But the Gurdwara, which is inside Dhaka University's campus, has so far been spared. The century-old building is protected by the authorities but also fondly preserved by students, who often engage in gunbattles on campus.

"All religions preach non-violence, no hatred and love. The Sikhs are a true reflection of that and so they are loved by all," said Atiqur Rahman, Muslim who attended Dhaka University.

Sikhs are a major religious community in mainly Hindu India, but they number only a few thousand in Bangladesh, where few wear the traditional turban and heavy beards.

The Gurdwara host annual feasts in November, January and April, which politicians and diplomats attend, regardless of their faith. They all eat vegetarian meals and sing Sikh songs.

The temple is one of five offering Friday and Saturday masses to the followers of Guru Nanak, who founded the Sikh faith centuries ago.

Hindus often take part in these prayers and sometimes Muslims come to listen as well. Many praise Singh.

Ratan Kumar, a Hindu, said he visited the Gurdwara almost every Friday for last 12 years. "I find it (Sikh religion) very liberal and kind."

"Whoever believes in one God is welcome here. There is no bar," he added.

Singh and other Sikhs also offer food to anyone who visits the temple on Fridays, attracting a big crowd from all faiths. On Saturdays, the temple gives food to poor children.

"We offer cooked food to children who otherwise find it difficult to find a meal," said Singh. "It's once in a week, but that gives them satisfaction and pleasure for a day."

SOURCE : Reuters.com<br /><br />
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Yet another example of the differences between us and others. Had this guy been a christian or muslim missionary, there would have been attempts to convert and "redeem" lost souls! But, in any event, a great story and indeed true Sikhi.

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