Our belated prayers go out to the families of the seven Sikhs murdered by white supremacist Wade Michael Page on Sunday in Oak Creek, Wisc.
Since 9/11, the Sikh community has been targeted because of their confusion with Muslims. In fact, the Sikh religion is a generally peaceful religion that “keeps to itself” – like the Jews, they don’t seek converts, just peace. That’s not to say that they won’t fight, especially in the face of tyranny. Many Sikhs received the Victoria Cross during World Wars I and II.
Guru Nank Dev Ji founded Sikhism in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term “sikh” in Sanskrit means disciple of student. Over the centuries, the Sikhs have found themselves at odds with Indian Hindus, because the Sikhs don’t believe in the caste system, and of course, the Muslims – as everyone finds themselves these days.
The Sikhs do believe in reincarnation, or karma. Sikh is defined as “any human being who faithfully believes in One Immortal Being; the teachings of the ten Gurus and the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru; and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion.” Sikhs believe in the equality of humankind, the concept of universal brotherhood of man and One Supreme God (Ik Onkar).
Most male Sikhs have Singh (lion) and most female Sikhs Kaur (princess) as their surname. Sikhs who have undergone the khanḍe-kī-pahul, the Sikh initiation ceremony, can also be recognized by the Five Ks: uncut hair (Kesh); an iron/steel bracelet (kara); a Kirkpan, a sword tucked in a gatra strap; Kachehra, a type of special shorts; and a Kanga, a small comb to keep the hair clean. Male Sikhs cover their hair with a turban, while female Sikhs may wear a turban or a headscarf.
As for what Wade Michael Page believed, white supremacism is a “theology” repugnant to all civilized Americans. The Left is always trying to link Conservatives and Tea Partiers to these monsters who take the “manifest destiny” of the Caucasian race to the ultimate fate – killing those who aren’t like them.
The Sikhs believe in facing down tyranny. According to one account, the temple priest fended off the killer with a butter knife until the women and children could get to safety before Page killed him. Eventually, Page died in a shootout with the police outside the temple. Accounts differ about how he met his end. Initial reports said the police brought him down. Today, the FBI said that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Since 9/11, authorities report that bias attacks have increased on Sikhs because of their resemblance to Muslims. Although it may anger Hindus, in fact, they are good Americans, for they believe in freedom of worship just as we do. The Sikh community has our deepest sympathy.