Sunday, August 5, 2012

Media advisory on coverage of Sikh temple shooting

I wish to express my deepest condolences to the families of those who were victimized after the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

In Sikhism, they teach about equality. They do sewa (service to others). They strongly disagree wiith prejudice and discrimination. "God created everyone, so all are equal and deserve the same treatment and respect" (Mool Mantra)

Sikhs cultivate an awareness and respect for the dignity of all life, human or otherwise. Such respect for life is fostered where one first recognises and nurtures the divine inner spark within oneself, then sees it and cherishes it in others.

The history of the gurus is full of stories of their love for animals, birds, trees, vegetation, rivers, mountains and sky. Many Sikhs have a strong tradition of being vegetarian.

A strong Sikh tradition is the equality of men and women. Especially in terms of making education available to everybody

Courtesy of PolicyMic
In San Francisco, AAJA (Asian American Journalists Association) has issued a "Media Advisory on Coverage of Sikh Temple Shooting."  Here are a few guidelines for organizations reporting on this tragedy:
  • The word “Sikh” is pronounced “seek.”
  • A Sikh temple is also called a “gurdwara” (pronounced GOORD-war-ah).
  • The Sikh religion is an offshoot of the Hindu religion. It was founded around 1500.
  • There are 25 million to 30 million Sikhs around the world, most of them in India. About 250,000 to 300,000 Sikhs live in the United States.
  • As part of their religion, Sikhs are prohibited from cutting their hair. Most Sikh men wear turbans. For this reason, they’re often confused with Muslims. Sikhism and Islam are, of course, two separate and distinct religions.
  • Sikhs believe in one God.

AAJA’s “Handbook to Covering Asian America” can be a resource in fairly, accurately and sensitively reporting on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The South Asian Journalists Association may be able to provide further assistance. For example

Not an Arab faith, but a monotheistic religion with elements of Hinduism and Islam. Sikhs are often mistaken in the West for Arabs, who wear turbans as an article of clothing. But all Sikhs, men and women, wear turbans and related covering over their uncut hair as a religious symbol of respect for God. 'Sikh' is derived from the Sanskrit for “he wishes to learn.” The word 'guru,' or spiritual leader (from the Sanskrit for “venerable”), comes from Sikhism."

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