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Opinion: Why American Sikhs will survive
Mourners and supporters of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin attend a candlelight vigil Tuesday.
August 12th, 2012
07:59 AM ET

Opinion: Why American Sikhs will survive

Editor's note: Shauna Singh Baldwin is the author of the novels "What the Body Remembers" and "The Tiger Claw" and the story collections "We Are Not in Pakistan" and "English Lessons and Other Stories." She is co-author of "A Foreign Visitor's Survival Guide to America." Her new novel, "The Selector of Souls," will be published in September.

By Shauna Singh Baldwin, Special to CNN

Milwaukee (CNN) - I do not have long hair; I have smoked occasionally; I am married to a gora (white guy) - I'm a Sikh, but no poster child for the Sikh community. I am critical of the difference between words and actions in our religion's promised equality for women. But like most Sikhs I do still believe in one god, karma and reincarnation, and I find the poetry of our 10 gurus deeply inspiring.

Nevertheless, on a postcard-perfect Sunday morning when my local gurdwara, or house of worship, was attacked by an apparent white supremacist, I was very much a Sikh, doing whatever I could. After the shooting, my Irish-American husband David and I rushed to Oak Creek and joined the group of Sikh men and women standing in the parking lot of a bowling alley across a boulevard from police vehicles surrounding the temple. We held hands, offered presence and solidarity. Only three commandments are given to Sikhs: work hard, share with your neighbors, take the name of the lord. Only the last two were possible on that day.

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Filed under: Ethnicity • How we look • Religion • What we think