If we only think of 9/11's victims as the ones in the planes and on the streets of America, we miss the chance to think of what caused 9/11, and the ways 9/11 has led to terror for the world at large.
While the Sikh turban traditionally represents love, faith, and social justice, people unaware of its significance often see it as a marker of violence and fear.
Oak Creek was an American tragedy that deeply affects us all. Though the challenges marginalized communities face can be sorrowful, I truly have faith in our nation to collectively take a stance and put an end to these detrimental mentalities.
As the mother of a Sikh boy who sports long hair wrapped in a patka (a little boy's version of a turban) and the wife of a turban-wearing Sikh, I am acutely aware of how they are perceived in the general American populace and how it impacts my parenting.
It all sounds so... demanding. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. "Be dressed for action" (NRSV). Imagine yourselves as slaves who remain ready for their master's return -- not knowing when it might come.
One year after Oak Creek, the answer is clear: "separation of Church and State" cannot mean silence from the "Church" side of the equation. To protect lives and care for spirits, faith leaders need to support legislative action against illegal guns. The victims of gun violence, our faiths, and our belief in America's promise demand no less.
Today, on the one-year anniversary, we must remember Oak Creek as the largest act of violence on a faith community since the 1963 church bombings.
In the wake of the tragedy on August 5, 2012, when a gunman stormed into the gurdwara and killed six people, Sikh Americans around the country asked: "What do I tell my children?" and "How do I protect them?"
Army veteran Wade Michael Page killed six people and then himself one Sunday morning at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wis., as number of people gather...
Global society is complicit in structural discrimination, and we have all become actors in that process. Each of us has had our humanity compromised by the current power structure. On the other hand, we all regularly participate in a system that protects a select few, and we all play roles that contribute to the denigration of others.
In the wake of the Boston bombings, Muslim parents fear for their children at school. Muslim women are discussing whether it is necessary to "pass" (remove their headscarfs), to be safe. How many innocent people will be teased, harassed or assaulted?
I pray that the collective response to yesterday will be drastically different from the knee-jerk racism that pervaded the days, weeks, months, and years after 9/11. But honestly, I'm not so sure how hopeful I am.
While I have been blessed never to have faced direct discrimination, the visual expression of my faith through my unshorn hair kept within my turban and my long beard attract cautious and potentially critical looks wherever I go.
As it currently stands, our government is not adequately tracking hate crimes. Rather, we are overlooking the violence endured by some of the most regularly targeted communities: Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans.
Our identities as Americans will not be given legitimacy -- or quite literally, airtime -- and we will thus continue to remain faceless victims of yet another tragedy chalked up only to gun violence and not also to hatred and ignorance.
Sikh warriors patrol the temple. You'll notice them right away in their blue uniforms carrying various weapons.