On August 5, 2012 a gunman entered a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin. He was responsible for the death of six victims and the wounds of another three victims, before police ended his own life (Article).
Although this tragedy was broadcasted, it did not capture and maintain the spotlight of media. In fact, the coverage of the newspapers were essentially limited to a mere two days. Social media did not explode with links, posts, or comments regarding the tragedy, such as the death of celebrities have provoked. Although the lack of attention was disappointing, I was further heartbroken when I heard that the Westboro Baptist Church was willing and prepared to give attention to the situation. In fact, moments after the tragedy was released to the public, the Westboro Baptist Church begun to tweet on Twitter:
“God sent another shooter” (Margie Phelps)
“Beautiful work of an angry God who told Wisconsin to keep their filthy hands off his people (WBC)!” (Fred Phelps Jr). (Article)
I fear that the lack of attention is not rooted in malic or disrespect but rather in a lack of knowledge about the tradition of Sikhism. Sikhism is a growing faith with approximately 20-23 million adherents and was founded in excess of 5oo years ago in India by Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak criticized the ‘blind rituals’ of Hinduism and Islam, the dominate religious traditions of the culture and era. Therefore, the belief system and traditions of Sikhism is understand in relationship, whether in accordance with or opposition to, these traditions.