Being member and part of the Interfaith council of Contra Costa County, I have leaned over the years that all the spiritual paths were unanimous in putting a code of ethics in place that nobody’s army during wars or battles will kill innocent people.
This act by terrorists is inhumane and very cowardly act to kill innocent people in London and last week in Manchester. This is a time to reflect on what our leaders and we as citizens could do to prevent these incidents from happening in the future. It is not the time for our President to find fault with the Mayor of London who happens to be a Muslim as he condemned this cowardly attack on his city’s citizens. The mayor is taking care of the situation at hand and calming the citizens and asking the public not to react in anger.
We know what happened when Indira Gandhi was killed by two Sikh bodyguards as a revenge for attacking the Golden Temple. Many innocent Sikhs were killed in Delhi because some leaders added fuel to the anger over her assassination by inciting violence against Sikhs. The mob behavior never solves any issue or problem rather it creates more problems and emotional wounds. All Punjabis and Sikhs in particular cannot forget the attack on the Golden Temple in 1984. However, many people tried to create divisions between Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab at that time but they did not succeed because in every family, half were Sikhs and half family members were Hindus. They knew each other and have family relationships with each other. Unfortunately, this mechanism (understanding) did not work during 1947 partition of India and Pakistan where millions of innocent people were killed because Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were divided by the distorted thinking leaders of that time as they tried to divide people with their own hidden agendas during partition.
That thinking could not succeed in 1984. The same is true in this country after 911 when a Sikh, Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed by a white male, Frank Roque, when he shouted ”I stand for America all the way,”. His statement was not the statement of all Americans. Our national leaders, Democrats and Republicans never bought into the argument that America is only a white land. All my Sikh brothers and sisters could not blame all whites or American Government for killing their brother, Balbir Singh Sodhi. I really liked what a true Sikh, Maan Singh Khalsa, East Bay man who was the victim of a hate crime spoke after the sentencing of those who attacked him and said, “I still consider you my brothers as human beings,” Khalsa said. “I hope one day you will consider me your brother too.” This concept of forgiveness is so hard for some to grasp in this litigious society. But this is one of the ways to heal wounds.
The pictures of army and police officers with guns brings flashbacks of those horrible and dark days of terror in Punjab and how frightened we all were when I was in my formative years and many innocent youth were killed by security forces to stop the terror. I hope history does not repeat that situation in London in the days to come.
I believe that terrorism is a very complex problem (political, economic, psycho-social and spiritual in nature) and it needs to be addressed in a sincere manner by our current global, national, and local leadership and by all of us in our local communities. We are lacking a true leadership on this issue. I convey my sincere condolences to all those families who lost their loved ones in this attack and wish our leaders have the courage to find solutions to these complex problems. We all need to find true causes of terrorism, which are not only plaguing Muslim community but Christians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs and even Buddhists. We need to find humane solutions and not based on blaming one religion over the other. A true leader is the one who does not exploit others sorrow and brings people together rather than divide them.