The Wisconsin Sikh Temple Massacre: A Beginner's Guide to Sikhism
Manjula Salomon, Director of Global Initiatives
Posted August 9, 2012
In four years at The Hotchkiss School as the Director of Global Initiatives, I have done nothing beyond owning my Indian face, my peculiar accent and a dot on my forehead to bring any knowledge of the Indian subcontinent and its richness of religions and cultures and languages to the community I moved to in 2008. I reasoned that one must develop the interests that already exist at the roots and in the past of the school. But in the last two weeks we have been horrified at the two massacres of people in peaceful settings-a movie house and a temple of worshippers. In the Dark Knight massacre the early analyses points to socio-pathological behavior. In the second, the Sikh Temple massacre in Wisconsin, there is the early implication that the gunman thought that Sikhs were Muslims. It recalls to some of us that the first person killed after 9/11 was a Sikh taken to be a Muslim, and increasing attacks on the Sikh community in the US and Europe have caused the FBI to open an investigation into this phenomenon.
In a school that is proud of its 'global gaze,' I trust we all would agree that learning a little about the Sikh religion will be our best empathy for the American Sikh community. Media ignorance about Sikhism is itself a frightening revelation.