A Reflection On The Shootings And My Sikh Community
by Jas Sajjan (guest author) | American University
The events that took place this weekend in Wisconsin not only hurt the Sikh community, but our society as a whole. As a Sikh myself, it hits particularly close to home. As an American, it hurts even more. I live in a country that prides itself on freedom, justice and religious tolerance, but yesterday we took a step backwards.
It is true that Sikhs are not Muslims. Why exactly that matters, I am not sure, but the media and individuals have made it more about what Sikhs are not rather than what we are.
A message to Sikhs
Stop pointing out that we are not Muslims. We should not be sad or angry because Sikhs or Punjabis were killed but because humans were killed. When an event like this takes place against a different demographic, we should be equally angry and sad. We should rise to the occasion then too.
Remember the pain we feel now. Remember the innocent lives that were taken from us. Remember the ignorance. Remember it all.
This was not just an attack against Sikhism, but an attack against what we as Americans believe in.
A message to the media
Stop pointing out the differences between Muslims and Sikhs as if one is worse than the other. You are not helping the problem; you are making it worse. Stop making it sound as if a mosque being attacked would have somehow been understandable. It may be unintentional, but pointing out differences between Sikhism and Islam makes it seem like there is something wrong with Islam.
A message to the world
Human beings were killed. Fathers and mothers were killed. Brother and sisters were killed. Our brothers and sisters. We should stop worrying about comparing religious and start working toward becoming more accepting people.
I truly believe we will move forward from this and learn. I will continue to believe that we will see a day that we embrace each other’s similarities rather than criticize our differences. And treating the victims in this tragedy as human beings, regardless of what religion they were, could be a first step.