Andrew Bowen got up this morning and wrapped his short black hair in a dark turban. Today, he's standing in solidarity with the Sikhs at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.
As part of his Project Conversion, a year experiencing one religion each month in 2011, Bowen spent September last year living as a Sikh man. And after a Neo-Nazi gunman killed six members of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple on Sunday (Aug. 5), Bowen wanted to show his support for his Sikh friends.
On his Project Conversion blog today (Aug. 6), he wrote: "The Sikhi community is precious to me. The members of this faith community showed me such grace and welcome as I explored their beliefs and way of life that I shutter at the notion that anyone would wish to show them harm. But these are the times we find ourselves in.
People are dying more and more because of fear, ignorance, and intolerance. We are slaughtering one another because of this myopic illusion of “other,” of “us and them.” It must stop, we must come together and put aside these petty, meaningless differences RIGHT NOW or we will soon wake and find ourselves in ashes spread by our own hands.
In honor of the victims of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and solidarity with Sikhs everywhere, I will wear the dastar (turban) I wore while an honorary Sikh from my time with them last year."
Bowen also encouraged others to wear the dastar to support the Sikh community.
"Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the mortal line of Sikh gurus, once said that he established the Sikh uniform (the “Five K’s”) in order that Sikhs might “Stand out as one among millions.”
I say we stand together, shoulder to shoulder with our Sikhi brothers and sisters, as one against a world bent on chaos and hatred. Wear the dastar, visit a local Sikh Gurudwara (Sikh temple), and connect with these folks. This is the true spirit of the Path of Immersion: meshing with others in the most intimate and nurturing way."
Learn more about the Sikh faith here.