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A Sikh mourns the tragedy, fears blind hate

Narinder Singh
Saturday September 15, 2001

The Daily Planet received this letter addressed to friends and fellow Americans: 

The wake of Tuesday’s terror has left me, as it has many of you, shocked and stunned. Upon seeing the World Trade Center collapse, I sat in disbelief and numbly tried to find and locate all of my friends and loved ones in New York. My mind searched for an alternative that was less horrible that what was unfolding before us. 

As an American, I mourn for all of those effected by this horror. I am also anxious for justice to swiftly reign upon those who have perpetrated this horrific act. 

Yet I find myself distracted from this purpose. As all of you know I am a Sikh. My faith preaches central tenants similar to all of your faiths: remembrance of God, the virtues of honest living, and necessity of sharing with others. It is separate and distinct from other faiths of the region including Hinduism and Islam. 

My religion also requires that I wear a turban and keep my hair and beard unshorn. Given the images of the suspected terrorists that have been shown and the rage our nation is feeling, I find myself and many people I care for at risk in the only country I have ever known and loved. Acts of violence have erupted against Muslims and people like the Sikhs, who are confused as such, across our country. This blind expression of hate sows the same seeds from which grow the acts of madmen. They represent individual acts of terrorism. 

It is as I hear repeatedly of these acts of violence that I am distracted from remembering those who have truly suffered. With each incident I feel robbed of my right to grieve over our loss. As one who has seen in my parents’ country the alternative to the precious freedom of America, I cherish what we have in America, and I struggle fearing that that may be in jeopardy. 

I ask that all of you spread to your friends, the media and others around you, the very values that America holds dear. It is through these values that we will prevail over even these difficult times. I ask that each of you help me guard these values so that we do not become that which we guard against. 

May God guide our spirit and actions, 

Narinder Singh 

Vice President, webMethods Inc.