Dear Wade Page,
As we raise our children, we instill in them the sacrifices that make up Sikh history. How our Gurus taught us to defend others and to put humanity in front of all of our actions. Yesterday, I had to tell my son about your hate. I had to explain to him how his small turban may make him the target of unjust hate and as a parent I welcome that. I welcome that my children get strength from these challenges in life. I welcome that they question who they are, why they are, as these are the foundations of spiritual development. Some may want to shelter their children from every storm and every challenge. Yet, I owe it to my forefathers who laid down their lives for our identity, to those who stood steadfast in the face of any challenge.
My dear misguided friend, you felt powerful holding a gun,and firing at innocent people. You felt that your mission and your message were going to clearly resonate and create an environment of fear within us. I can assure you failed badly in this, as the community you chose to target has seen much worse. The Sikhs have endured even a price on their heads yet they did not give up their faith, their identity is still intact.
Our message has always been of tolerance and acceptance. The US government and media failed to allow the Sikhs to explain their identity, so people like you made us easy targets to direct hate towards. Our children were bullied, our community was discriminated against, we were heckled, attacked and even killed. Yet we did not fold under this pressure. In a decade of constant images, you and others have made us the face of the enemy, knowing nothing about us, not knowing the fact that the enemy you just started fighting a decade ago we had been against since our existence. The enemy - of hate, of terrorism, of forcing beliefs is what we have made a living standing against. We upheld religious freedom, we upheld even those beliefs we did not ourselves believe in, yet you did not educate yourself of the difference.
We even welcome that, we pride ourselves of standing in the front lines to absorb hate; this is what our identity is about. It is not just mistaken identity, whether you thought we were Muslim or not does not matter to us, as nobody should be the target of such a crime. Our identity puts us at the forefront of constantly reshaping our resolve. We do not feel it a burden, in fact, it is our biggest strength.
Unfortunately, this is not the first, nor do I think will be the last, attack on Sikhs because we are an easily identifiable minority. Each morning, when a Sikh in the USA has tied a turban, they have fully known that this distinguishes them from the rest, it makes them stand out, and it opens the opportunity for ridicule, for hate, discrimination and bullying. Yet despite all that they continue to wear it. Such is the spirit of the Sikhs for their article of faith. The turban is not just a symbol; it is a part of every Sikh that ties them to something greater, something that connects them to their roots, and their spirituality.
Wade Page you chose the wrong group of people, fear is not in our vocabulary. The fact is that out of all the massacres, nobody tried to attack the shooter, yet in the Sikh massacre even while you had the more powerful weapon, a Sikh tried to stop you.
Sikhs resolve is robust, and though many in our community try to assimilate to fit in when tragedy strikes, there are an ample number of those who use this to strengthen their commitments to their faith.
Aryan nation/KKK/White Supremacist whoever is out there, we did nothing to deserve this sort of hate, yet it is okay. You brought the fight to the right group of people; we have defended others against what you stand for throughout our history and will continue to do so. You want to see fewer turbans? You will only see more now, as this is the way our psyche works.
Your hate and bigotry is water for the seeds of our perseverance. We don’t just pray for the betterment of all; we are willing to back it up with action. You wanted to break us, to make us fear, to make us question our identities, my friend you have only done the opposite.
Wade, wherever you are now, please do try to find Aurangzeb, and Zakareya Khan and talk to them, discuss with them how you all have collectively failed to make even a dent on the Sikhs, and while you are there also let Bin Laden know that his image may have hurt the turban, but we will never give it up and vow to restore its glory not as a symbol of fanaticism or hate, but as a symbol of justice, equality and spirituality.