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Simran Jeet Singh
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Simran Jeet Singh is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University focusing on South Asian Religions. He earned an M.A. from the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures of Columbia University (2009), an M.T.S. in South Asian Religious Traditions from Harvard University (2008), and a B.A. in English Literature and Religious Studies from Trinity University (2006).

Simran is currently a Truman National Security Fellow and the Scott and Rachel F. McDermott Fellow for the American Institute of Indian Studies. He also serves as the Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, the Education Director for the Surat Initiative, and the Executive Director for the Sikh Spirit Foundation.

Simran has a wide range of academic interests related to religion and culture. He has published on various topics, from the formations of early communities to hate violence in modern America. His dissertation research focuses specifically on Guru Nanak. Simran's language and academic training have also prepared him to teach religion more broadly. He has served as a Teaching Assistant for courses on Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, and in 2013 Simran received the prestigious Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Entries by Simran Jeet Singh

Another Apparent Sikh Hate Crime in NYC

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 10:06 AM

Two years ago, the nation came together when a white supremacist entered a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire on the congregation. It was the most lethal attack on an American house of worship since the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Contextualizing Anti-Semitism in Modern America

(3) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 5:19 PM

Earlier this year, I received a special invitation to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum with a group of distinguished young scholars. I was thrilled by the prospect of receiving a guided tour from Dr. Victoria Barnett, director of the Museum's Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust, and I...

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Impunity & Immunity in India: Diplomats, Public Perceptions, and Human Rights Violations

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 11:06 AM

Last week, the United States arrested an Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, for committing fraud in a visa application for her nanny. The application submitted by Khobragade claimed that the housekeeper would be paid the minimum wage of $9.75, yet sources revealed that she was actually being paid about $3.31 per...

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Hate Hits Home: When My Friend Became A Target

(153) Comments | Posted September 22, 2013 | 4:22 PM

Last night, I received the kind of phone call that everyone dreads: a close friend was hurt, and on his way to the hospital. But the news got worse, as I learned that my friend, Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a young Sikh American professor at Columbia University, had been...

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Sikhs Host 'Turban Day' in New York City

(2) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 10:53 AM

Although it is counted as the world's fifth largest religion, relatively few Americans know about the Sikh tradition. This lack of awareness has had severely negative consequences, especially when Americans mistakenly equate a turban with terrorism. The first casualty of a hate crime after 9/11 was a turbaned...

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Am I Trayvon? Zimmerman? Both?

(8) Comments | Posted July 17, 2013 | 12:20 PM

As I strolled outside my Manhattan apartment this morning, reflecting on the Trayvon Martin decision, I had one of those moments that would shatter any possible artifice of living in a post-racial society.

I heard a woman cry in pain and turned around to see her lying...

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Remembering the Massacre of Sikhs in June of 1984

(20) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 1:41 PM

During the first week of June, Sikhs around the world commemorate a recent historical event: Operation Bluestar of 1984, a government-sanctioned military operation that resulted in countless casualties and the destruction of one of the most historically significant gurduaras, the Darbar Sahib of Amritsar (i.e., The Golden Temple).


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Protesting Interfaith? The Importance of Advancing Our Dialogues

(23) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 12:22 PM

I had never before seen anyone protest an interfaith gathering. But yesterday as we walked out of our hotel in Kiev, Ukraine, a small group of protestors stepped forward to verbally and physically harass our group consisting of religious leaders and foreign dignitaries. The protestors belonged to the Ukranian Orthodox...

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Sikhs Team Up to Run for a Cause

(3) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 11:32 AM

After raising more than $7,000 for charity, a new Sikh running team -- The Surat Fauj Running Club -- participated in its first two events this past weekend. On Saturday members of the California team showed their commitment to defending human rights in Punjab, India by joining the "Appear for...

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Hate, Congress and the FBI: Rethinking How We Track Hate Crimes in America

(7) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 10:17 AM

Two weeks ago, Florida resident and Sikh American Kanwaljit Singh was driving with his 13-year old son when someone pulled up next to him in a pickup truck and opened fire. Two of the bullets struck Singh in the thigh and torso, and after about a week in the Intensive...

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Touching Turbans and Airport Security

(228) Comments | Posted February 18, 2013 | 3:32 PM

This story has been updated. Scroll down to see the latest update.

This afternoon, I was forced to let someone else touch my turban. It's one of the most humiliating moments of my life.

I attended a conference at Stanford University this weekend and was traveling back to...

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Repealing the Ban Against Sikhs in the Military

(20) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 7:06 AM

A few weeks ago, the British Army and the Scots Guard broke centuries of tradition by allowing a Sikh soldier, Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar, to wear his turban rather than the traditional bearskin cap while guarding Buckingham Palace in London, England. Meanwhile, U.S. policies still bar turbaned Sikhs from serving in...

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A Believer's Response To The Connecticut Shooting: We All Suffer Together

(14) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 3:29 PM

The mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut raises serious questions about the health of our society and collective humanity. People around the globe today wonder how anyone could possibly justify killing innocent school children and school employees.

More than any of the other mass shootings our...

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Mayor Tonya Hoeffel's Act Of Intolerance Towards The Sikh Community

(25) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 3:24 PM

Less than one month after of the massacre of Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Mayor Tonya Hoeffel of Garrett, Indiana has further offended the Sikh community. Mayor Hoeffel walked into a local convenience store, observed pamphlets about the Sikh religion on the store counter, and picked them up before throwing...

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Dalbir Singh Murdered: Another Sikh Killed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

(243) Comments | Posted August 17, 2012 | 2:16 AM

Another Sikh has been murdered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Fifty-six-year-old Dalbir Singh regularly attended the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, the same gurdwara where white supremacist Wade Michael Page opened fire and killed six members of the congregation.

According to a press release issued by the...

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Underneath The Turban: Why Sikhs Do Not Hide

(264) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Why do we wear turbans?"

Nearly every Sikh American who grows up in the U.S. asks their families this question and as two Sikh Americans who maintain our faith, we were no different when we were little. This week, as Americans join in vigils for the six murdered Sikhs...

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A Muslim and a Sikh Talk about Sikhism in the Aftermath of the Wisconsin Tragedy

(6) Comments | Posted August 7, 2012 | 12:23 PM

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, Omid Safi, Professor of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and one of America's Muslim public intellectuals interviewed Simran Jeet Singh, a doctoral candiate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University whose...

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As A Sikh-American I Refuse To Live In Fear And Negativity

(563) Comments | Posted August 5, 2012 | 7:23 PM

As a Sikh-American, I am absolutely heart-broken.

As soon as news broke about the massacre in Wisconsin, my parents called me to make sure I was safe. Our conversation was eerily similar to the moments immediately after 9/11.

After making sure I was safe, they asked...

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Humanizing Victims of Hate

(7) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 1:18 PM

I can't stop thinking about hate.

I have written a couple of pieces recently about Islamophobia, Sikhophobia, media profiling and hate-crimes, and both of them focus on the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi, the first hate crime casualty of post-9/11 America. While these essays have considered how his murder...

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A Unique Perspective on Hate-Crimes: The Story of a Convicted Killer

(1) Comments | Posted July 20, 2012 | 1:14 PM

Following my recent article on "Islamophobia, Sikhophobia, and Media Profiling," I received a number of questions from people about hate-speech and hate-crimes. Some people denied that they occur in modern America, while others asked how we could be so certain that acts of violence were motivated by hate....

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