Wisconsin Shootings: Sikhs Faced Discrimination Since 9/11


The turban also serves the practical function of covering the wearer's hair. Sikhs, both men and women, do not cut their hair.

"Much like the uniform of a police officer, it is a reminder to uphold the duties of the uniform … what I agreed to, to be a good human being," she said.

The Sikhs practice a monotheist religion based in peace that was founded in the Punjab region of India in 1469. There are more than 25 million followers worldwide.

Sikhism preaches a message of devotion, remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, social justice, while emphatically denouncing superstitions and blind rituals.

"The basic foundation principle is one God for all people and everyone is considered equal in the eyes of God -- which means gender, race and ethnicity," said Kaur.

Sikhs say one can get closer to God by practicing three things: remembering God, living truthfully and offering service to humanity. They say they are meant to uphold the values of honesty, compassion, generosity, humility, integrity and spirituality on a daily basis.

The five articles of faith include the unshorn hair [kes], comb for good hygiene [khangha], steel bracelet [kara], sword [kirpan] and soldier's shorts [kachhehra].

Since the Oak Creek attack, Kaur said the coalition has "sort of been in emergency mode."

Her colleague Singh flew out to Wisconsin today to help the Sikh community there and the families of the shooting victims.

"It's a very little community," said Singh. "We want to be supportive and figure out how to lend a hand. We also want to respond to all public inquiries so the there is a better understanding of who we are in the history of the United States and our contributions."

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