Lifestyle & Belief

Sikh: Facts about the religion


An activist from a radical Sikh prganisation wears a shirt depicting Sikh leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale (R) whilst another holds a placard and a sword after prayers at Sri Akal Takht at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on June 6, 2011. 'Ghallughara Diwas' is the anniversary of the deadly 1984 Indian army 'Operation Bluestar' assault on the Golden Temple complex to arrest Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a Sikh leader and his militant followers who had initiated a movement for a separate Sikh state.



Yesterday, a gunman began shooting during Sunday service at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Police haven't yet determined a motive, however, according to CBS News, they are investigating whether the incident was a possible hate crime against Sikhs. 

Here are some facts about Sikhs and Sikhism, the religion that they practice.

- Sikhism was founded in the 16th century in the Punjab area of both Pakistan and India by Guru Nanak.

-There are approximately 20 million Sikhs worldwide, most of whom live in India's Punjab province.

-Sikhs believe in one god, and that everything is equal before God.

-The Sikh scripture is a book called the Guru Granth Sahib. Any building that holds the Guru Granth Sahib is a Sikh place of worship, also called Gurdwara (Gateway to the Guru).

-Most male Sikhs have Singh (lion) as their last name. Women have Kaur (princess) as their last name.

-Sikhs have been targets of hate crimes in the US since September 11, when they were often mistaken for Muslims for their beards and turbans. The Sikh Coalition, a New York Based advocacy group reported more than 700 attacks against Sikhs since 2001, CNN reported.

-New York Rep. Joe Crowley sent a letter to the Justice Department to begin tracking crimes against Sikhs. He asked that the FBI update its Hate Crime Incident Report Form (1-699), which does not have a designation for crimes against Sikhs as it does for some other groups.