A Sikh Professor at Columbia University in New York City, Dr. Prabhjot Singh, was attacked Saturday evening during a walk near his house. The attackers called him 'Osama' and 'terrorist' while attacking him.
Dr. Singh has dedicated his life to improving the life and health of underprivileged communities at the local and the global level. His high impact work has helped thousands across rural sub-Saharan Africa and has been published in world-renowned journals such as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. This is a man whose mission in life is as far removed from that of terrorists as possible, yet he became a target of those who are angered at the acts of terrorists.
While acts of terrorists inflict loss of life and limb, these are their means to an ultimate goal that goes beyond such mayhem. Beyond the death of innocents, their 'victory' lies in shaking the foundation of a free society. It manifests in a sense of fear in the society, with everyone looking over his or her shoulders. It manifests in a sense of suspicion of others, including neighbors, especially of those who look different. And even more perniciously, the terrorist victory lies in creating hate among people, and heightening the divisions within a society.
The attack on Dr. Singh is a manifestation of such hatred, as has been a continuous stream of attacks on Sikhs in the past several years, including the attack on a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last year.
As a nation, we must commend the response of our society at large to such attacks whether they are on Sikhs, Christians, Hindus, Muslims or any other community. We have repeatedly shown our support for victims of such heinous crimes. We must also be thankful for the support of a broad spectrum of religious, social and political leaders in the wake of such attacks. At the same time, we must further strengthen our efforts to combat the fear, the suspicion and the hatred generated by the acts of terrorists, and refuse to hand to them a major victory that they seek.
I offer sympathies and support to Dr. Prabhjot Singh and his family. My prayers go to him for a speedy and full recovery, and for a steely resolve not to be intimidated by the attack. He has already been working tirelessly to make the world a better place in which everyone can live in harmony and peace. May this act of hate further strengthen his resolve to spread the message of love that his faith, and all other faiths, profess.
May God enlighten the attackers and bring peace and understanding to their mind. Let the light of love pierce through the clouds of hate and illuminate our hearts with universal love and harmony.
God made this world a wonderful place for all of us to live in peace and happiness. Let us not allow the terrorists to undermine the house of God.