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
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Priscila

    Solid. At the networking meteing I met with a woman who told me that she and her partner had spent months and thousands of dollars doing research on company name research so that they would get a market advantage. I couldn't help but think that a googol is a number with a hundred zeros ( lots of search links), yahoo is something you say when you find what you're looking for, and 52 stairs are something you climb to get something done. You mentioned something to me a while ago that has stuck: it doesn't matter what the name of the company or the product is: If it's cool and people like it, the name will become cool and people will like it. After all, all of those menstruation jokes about the iPad have stopped.

    October 15, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dave Bauer

    In 1791 Thomas Jefferson led the fight for religious freedom and separation of church and state in his native Virginia. This brought him into conflict with the Anglican Church, the established church in Virginia. After a long and bitter debate, Jefferson's statute for religious freedom passed the state legislature. In Jefferson's words, there was now "freedom for the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindu and infidel of every denomination.

    August 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |