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Temple City High School



Feature

March 20, 2017

Khinda responds to recent Sikh shooting

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It’s not hard to spot Junior Harsimran Khinda on campus—his turban is one of the first things people notice about him. Khinda is one of the few people on campus who practice Sikhism, a popular religion in northeastern India.
Recently, more Americans are curious about Sikhism since 39 year old US citizen Deep Rai was shot by a white male in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington on March 5. Police believe that the shooter attacked Rai because he was wearing a turban. Rai was cleaning his car, and before the gunshot, the suspect yelled “go back to your own country.” With a wounded arm, Rai survived the gunshot, but the Sikh community still remains in shock.
Founded in the 15th century, Sikhs believe that there is only one God, and that He is the same God for people of all races and religions. This religion preaches that people of any sex, race or religion are equal in the eyes of God. Sikhism is separate from Islam, which has lately been the center of attack in politics and hate crimes.
Although Sikhism is historically related as a branch of Sufi Islam, Sikhs do not consider them a part of Islam. They do share similarities with beliefs about God, and they both commend helping the needy and poor. However, Sikhism and Islam are different in that Sikhs do not believe that any Holy Scripture ranks higher over another, while Muslims have the Quran. Sikhs and Muslims have had conflicts in the past, and hate crimes against religions based in the Middle East have recently been on the rise in America and all over the world. Many people confuse the two religions due to similar attires, such as the turban, but they are not the same religion. Muslim men may wear turbans if they desire, but it is not a mandatory practice.
Sikh turbans signify their respect for God and the sacrifices other people have made. It helps preserve their identity, and it is an expression of their acceptance to God’s will. Sikhs must also not remove any hair from their bodies, which is why many men have long beards and hair. They also tie their hair in turbans and place a wooden comb underneath the turban.
From playing on the Boys Junior Varsity Soccer and Boys Varsity Volleyball teams, Khinda makes sure to practice his faith despite his busy schedule.
“The students on campus and everyone in the world should learn that Sikhs are like everyone else,” Khinda said. “No one should judge each other because of their religion or their looks.”
On the field and on the court, Khinda proudly wears his turban and his kara, a steel bracelet that symbolizes faith and character.
“Sikhism is a way for me to live as a good, kind person, and I practice it by going to the Gurdwara, or the temple, on Sundays,” Khinda said. “No matter what color or what race, we consider everyone a brother or sister.”
Despite social stereotypes about his religion, Khinda is a friendly teenage boy. His turban signifies that he is only here to help, and students can look for him if they are in need of a friend or help.
“It saddens me how ignorant our world is today, despite having so much knowledge,” Khinda said. “It’s not just a Sikh that was shot, it was an innocent man who only chose to represent himself with a turban and a beard. He did nothing wrong to be shot.”IMG_4976



About the Author

Emily Hsu





 
 

 
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