chapter  9
12 Pages

All shall abide in peace, prosperity, and justice: Sikhism and security

ByPashaura Singh

Sikhism is not well understood by those outside the faith, especially in the West. Although there is a significant global diaspora of Sikhs, they are still predominantly found in Punjab, India. Sikhs number only about 25 million worldwide (of the major world religions, only Judaism is smaller). Ignorance and confusion about Sikhism abounds. In North America, for instance, one of the most common mistakes at the popular level is to confuse Sikhs with Muslims. In the post 9/11 context, this has had serious implications for the personal security of Sikhs. The first victim of violent backlash after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 was a Sikh, Balbir Singh Sodhi of Arizona, who was shot dead by an angry gunman calling himself a patriot. Mr. Sodhi became the target because he was wearing the Sikh turban and was mistaken as a Muslim.