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Unfamiliar Religion Traditions- The Sikhs

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Traditionally, Sikhs wear a pair of long loose trousers and a long sleeved jacket. Women of this religion wear long trousers and ‘salwar’-an overdress. As Singh (2005) states, Sikhs are very concerned about protecting their dress code and the five Ks. They never remove the five Ks from their body. So, there are occasions when security forces without cultural awareness force them to remove these identities. Presently, police forces allow their Sikh officers to continue wearing turban and protect their long hair (p. 122). Because of their long unshorn hair and turban, Sikh people are often misunderstood as a Muslim from the Middle East.

Thus, often, these people are targeted as terrorists and subject to racial aggression. This all happens because their special dress code makes them appear very similar to the Muslim terrorists of the Middle East. Admittedly, I too loved to cherish this belief about this relatively unfamiliar religion. However, as I studied further about it, I came to know that this religion is based on a large number of high moral principles. First of all, Sikhism is against the violence in the name of religion.

According to Sikh concepts, the most important elements of faith are remembering God, offering selfless service, and earning an honest living. Thus, as Singh I. J. (n. d.) points out, the religion does not insist that one should share rewards only within the religion. Instead, Sikhism teaches that God is love and that this love is not limited to only to Sikhs. God equally loves all people from all religions. Thus, Sikhism never promotes aggression in the name of religious differences because it believes in equality of all.

In other words, unlike many other religions, Sikhism is noted for it tolerance to other cultures, beliefs and practices. Thus, it is highly irrational to believe that Sikhs are terrorists. This point can be further elaborated by some verses from Shri Guru Granth Sahib, the guiding principles of Sikhism. Guru Nanak never insisted people from other religions to convert to Sikhism. Instead, he taught them to be good human beings. For example, Guru taught Muslims “Make compassion your mosque, faith your prayer mat; make honest living your Koran, let modesty rule your conduct; let piety be your fasts, in such a way become a true Muslim” (Shri Guru Granth Sahib).

Similarly, to Hindus, he suggested “From the cotton of passion, spin the thread of contentment; tying the knot of continence, give it the twist of virtue” (Shri Guru Granth Sahib).

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