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Turban Doesn't Mean Terrrorist. -Baldeep Pooni.pdf

Turban Doesn't Mean Terrrorist. -Baldeep Pooni.pdf

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Published by Larissa Casey

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Published by: Larissa Casey on Jan 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Turban Doesn’t Mean Terrorist
 By: Baldeep Pooni
Tears flowed down my eyes and down my cheeks as I glared at the TV then readthe words:
‘’Today another Sikh man was killed in what seems like a hate crime’’. In the next 30
seconds the CNN news broadcasting network displayed images of the dead Sikh man with hisfamily crowded around him, crying in despair and shock. I continued to watch in horror as thenews statistically pinpointed this catastrophe as the tenth murder this week. Although thereporter stated this lethal assault cumulated as the tenth murder this week
he didn’t
give theslightest mention about a possible solution from the New York City officials. Shortly after thenews report, I shut off the TV, got up off the couch and made my way to the bathroom to washthe tears that had dried on my face.As the cold water trickled down the sink I held my head into an erect position facingthe bathroom mirror. While I peered at my reflection in the mirror, inattentively mysubconscious mind began to process the similarities between me and the Sikh man that wasmurdered today
. I didn’t
support a turban or beard like him but I had the same brown skincomplexion, Indian heritage, Punjabi culture and Sikh religious background like the Sikh man.Suddenly, I questioned
‘’was he attacked and killed because of his turban and beard?’’
Over tenyears have passed since September 11, 2001 but the misconception of what a turban meansseems embedded into American society.Months flew by like leaves on a winter tree as I saw and heard reports onTV and the internet that dealt with assaults on people with diverse ethnic backgrounds. Amajority of these assaults and random acts of violence occurred on people of Sikh identity,specifically the Sikhs who distinctively exhibited turbans and kept long unshorn beards. Since Iyearned to for a critical research on this topic, I waited until the three week Christmas breakthe school gives for the winter holiday. Throughout those three weeks I did nothing butinvestigate every detail that would give me some kind of perspective on how frequently thesehate crimes occurred and why. After spending numerous nights and days on this research, Idiscovered fact after fact proving these events were still occurring at the same rate they had in2001 when the terrorist attack on The Twin Towers in New York took place. Also, I discoveredthese crimes frequently occurred because the general public had little knowledge about thereligion called Sikhism
or the Sikhs, the religion’s followers. In fact I
conducted random polls atpublic places like the mall, stores and bookstores to conduct random polls. I asked people
passing by, if they knew anything about Sikhism. To my surprise not one person couldaccurately do so.Although I gained
some insight about the general public’s views though
myresearch, I still felt blind to the complex elements of hate crimes. I
t wasn’t
until I watched the
documentary called ‘’Divided We Fall’’ that I found out how frequently and violently these
assaults occurred in American society, assaults that happened less than two months fromDecember 17,2011, the day I began my research. In this documentary I viewed how Americancitizens who were raging out with sentiments of patriotic confusion systematically attackednumerous Sikhs, men, women and children. I saw child, man, and women being accused of terrorism and then brutally attacked and killed. Thus watching this documentary left only onecolor flowing throughout my mind: red, the color of blood. At that moment I realized I had todo something to restore the red, white and blue American colors of justice to
my people
butthe mixed emotions flowing within me left me with no specific path to start from. A couple of days passed as I struggled on with a possible action to take. However my stress grew so Idecided to pay a visit to the local Sikh religious temple.As I sat on the comforting carpet of the Sikh temple I closed my eyes andsought for some kind of answer. I laid there inside the black realm of contemplation for whatfelt like hours; then, suddenly the voice of one of the organizers of the Sikh temple gainedentrance. His voice awakened me. I focused on Mr.Singh, a tall, light brown, turbaned man witha long beard that flowed from the sides of his face to the middle of his fancy orange tie. Heusually started out by jumping from thought to thought but today he focused on one subject,centered on the chaos plaguing our religious community here in America. With a veryconcentrated gleam in his dark brown eyes Mr.Singh spoke from his podium.
‘’Over the last few months more and more Sikh children and Sikh teenage
rshave stopped wearing the Sikh symbols because they are constantly harassed at school by their
Then with a storm of tears precipitating down on his face and with both hands folded togetheras done in prayer, Mr.Singh made his final statement in an emotionally wrecked voice.
‘’These children have given up all that they believe in because they now have come tobelieve that our religion is somehow linked to the terrorists in this world!’’
 As soon as Mr. Singh uttered these words I knew I had to stand outas a symbol of faith for not only the Sikh youth but for everyone that lost their lives becausethey were mistaken as terrorists. I decided that to combat this issue I needed to wear theturban, one of the most significant Sikh symbols and then educate the kids at school, the
people I met at grocery stores and anyone I met on the walks of life that turban doesn’t mean

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