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Sikh: Facts about the faith

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Sikh: Facts about the faith

  • Spanish Sikhs in 2011.
    Jofre Ferrer/FlickrSpanish Sikhs in 2011.

Sunday, a gunman began shooting during a service at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Police haven't yet determined a motive, however they are investigating whether the incident was a possible hate crime against Sikhs. 

Here are some facts about Sikhs and Sikhism, the religion that they practice.

  • Sikhism was founded in the 16th century in the Punjab area of both Pakistan and India by Guru Nanak.
  • There are approximately 20 million Sikhs worldwide, most of whom live in India's Punjab province.
  • Sikhs believe in one god, and that everything is equal before God.
  • The Sikh scripture is a book called the Guru Granth Sahib. Any building that holds the Guru Granth Sahib is a Sikh place of worship, also called Gurdwara (Gateway to the Guru).
  • Most male Sikhs have Singh (lion) as their last name. Women have Kaur (princess) as their last name.
  • Sikhs have been targets of hate crimes in the US since September 11, when they were often mistaken for Muslims for their beards and turbans. The Sikh Coalition, a New York Based advocacy group reported more than 700 attacks against Sikhs since 2001, CNN reported.
  • New York Rep. Joe Crowley sent a letter to the Justice Department to begin tracking crimes against Sikhs. He asked that the FBI update its Hate Crime Incident Report Form (1-699), which does not have a designation for crimes against Sikhs as it does for some other groups.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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hate crimes, sikhs, terrorism, wisconsin

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