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S1ngh

Sikh professor teaching islamic studies

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WOuld be interesting to hear sangat's view on this...

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(RNS) — As far as I know, I was the first Sikh hired to teach Islamic studies at an American university. I loved every minute of it, especially because my employer, Trinity University, was located in my beloved hometown of San Antonio, Texas.

My first real job also shed new light for me on what it’s like to be an underrepresented minority in this country. Most Americans, in short, don’t know who Sikhs are. Typically they presume we are Muslims, mostly as a result of Islam being racialized in the past few decades: It’s not just a faith, it’s also a look, and the resulting stereotypes square with the appearance of many Sikh men — brown skin, turban, beard. That’s me.

Of course I had long since learned what “looking Muslim” meant in post-9/11 America. I knew firsthand the violence that came with misguided understandings of Islam, and as a Sikh especially, I felt compelled to do something about it. It’s precisely what sent me down the path of studying religious communities and addressing the racism they experience. I decided to make allyship with Muslims and those affected by anti-Muslim hate a centerpiece of my life.

Because my path seemed so obvious to me, I never considered my field of study to be odd. Only when I began interviewing for jobs did I realize that some might find it strange for a Sikh to teach Islam. “How can you teach a religion you don’t even practice?” people would ask, including the president of a university during a job interview.

I wanted to point out to the president that the scholars in his own religion department, like most of the religion scholars I knew, did not practice the faiths they taught. It’s considered normal for white scholars to be interested in traditions other than their own. I didn’t alert him to his bias — I wanted the job, after all. But ever since I’ve wished I could have asked why it was problematic for me to express the same interest — because I’m a person of color? Because I identify as a religious minority?

My wife lived in New York City when I was hired at Trinity, and because she was working and we didn’t yet have kids or a firm long-term plan, I commuted to and from Texas every week. I would fly out Monday morning and return on Thursday evening, a brutal schedule that my generous colleagues bent over backward to accommodate.

webRNS-Singh-Oped2-010419-807x573.jpg

Passengers walk through an airport terminal. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

But traveling had its perks — tons of frequent flier miles, for one. I also got so familiar with airport security officials that they often let me slide through without subjecting me to otherwise common racial profiling and secondary screening procedures.

But there were uncomfortable aspects. On my regular carrier, Southwest Airlines, whose first-come, first-served seating policy normally sets off a scramble for favorable seats, my fellow passengers consistently chose not to sit beside me, no matter where I was sitting, until no other option was available. I sometimes made a game of it, counting how many empty seats were left for the unseated passengers, trying to guess if I would get a row to myself or at least an empty seat next to me so I could spread out a bit more freely.

It wasn’t just me. Check out the Twitter hashtags #FlyingWhileBrown or #FlyingWhileMuslim or #FlyingWhileSikh. It’s a real thing. I was grateful for the extra space, but part of me would feel sad that people viewed me as someone they didn’t want to be around.

My conundrum in this situation was whether to prepare for class. If I pulled out a book on the Quran or on Islamic history or on politics in the Middle East, would it cause unnecessary distress? After hiding my books for months, reflecting constantly on the Sikh teaching that “A truly wise person neither fears anyone nor inspires fear in anyone,” I eventually put fake book jackets on what I was reading.

Some may say I gave in to illegitimate fears and should have simply read and graded unapologetically; if people felt worried, that was their problem.

I see that argument and honor it. But as a racialized body, it’s not always easy to dismiss others’ fears. For one thing, these fears often have consequences for people who look like me. This is a reality that all people of color know because they live it every day of their lives. There is a real psychological impact of being so cognizant of one’s own appearance and how it’s perceived in public. Even things that seem mundane to many people raise questions for me.

webRNS-Singh-Teaching1-010419-807x538.jp

Simran Jeet Singh teaches a class at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 12, 2017. Photo courtesy of San Antonio Express-News/Ray Whitehouse

For instance, I was surprised (though I probably shouldn’t have been) by the hate aimed at me in my job. People were angry when I spoke out about a 14-year-old Muslim boy in Texas who had been wrongfully accused of bringing a bomb to school. Local law enforcement handcuffed, detained and questioned him for 90 minutes without permitting him to see his parents. My tweet of solidarity with the boy became part of the story on “Good Morning America” and CNN International. Some called our university president’s office demanding I be fired.

My university supported me, as it did when I got a credible death threat and had to involve authorities. And the time right-wing outlets published defamatory pieces that confused me with another Sikh man, landing me on the notorious Professor Watch List.

In this sense, what I learned by teaching Islamic studies will always be with me. I can only hope that other universities won’t have second thoughts about hiring me because I’ve appeared on an academic watch list.

But this stays with me too: the wonderful students, colleagues and administrators who welcomed me and listened when I shared my darker lessons as I have here. The sharing of our experience helps others see realities that would be hard to imagine otherwise. Through my own stories I hope they too saw what our Muslim neighbors and every minority goes through in trying to overcome the racial and religious supremacies so deeply embedded in the world around us.

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Very Cool. He's practicing one of the 52 hukamname To learn about other religions, but keep utmost faith in Akaal Purkh and i bet the first thing he teaches the students is that, I am a Sikh not muslim, which is a good thing cuz more Sikh Awareness. But I just wonder, since Texas has a big population of Muslims dont they mind 1) that he is taking their jobs 2) That he is probably teaching a more secular version of islam.

I took a arabic class and that professor (who was sunni) would get mad at the persian professor(who was shia) about what she told her class about islam. He would say things like unless, she has a phd in islam from a accredited/respected/authentic islamic univerisity, she has no right to teach students that in islam, its ok to bow before photos, and have a feast for the dead etc. 

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1 hour ago, S1ngh said:

It’s considered normal for white scholars to be interested in traditions other than their own.

I agree with this. It's about the only thing I agree with this guy.

White people think that they function like scientists in lab coats examining insects and such. Meanwhile, non-white people are supposed to act as representatives of their various species (like robins, woodpeckers, pitbulls, etc.) Nonwhites are not to act like disinterested scientists.

With that said ... is this guy nuts?

Why in the world would he want to put himself forth as professor of Islam? When he goes on TV and such (or even if he doesn't), he'll be cementing the view in Americans' heads that those people with beards and turbans are Muslims.

Thanks a lot, "Simran Jeet Khan".

Secondly, what does he think he's going to do? If he's going to whitewash Islam, there are plenty of people doing that already.

Or, if he's going to tell the truth about Islam, he'll be targeted for violence, since he's easy to pick out.

So what's the point?

We all know he's going to portray Islam as a new-age dharma full of love and kindness, and all of those terrorists like ISIS head al-Baghdadi who have a doctorate in Islamic studies just don't understand "the real Islam".

See this article for what the real Islam is:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

The author writes that the “reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic.”

You'll never hear Professor "Simran Jeet Khan" say that.

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So gullible.   

Simran Jeet Singh is a puppet. 

This is the new samosa uncle who they will call upon to speak for Sikhi because he's being groomed by these samosa uncles to take their spots. My bad not samosa uncles anymore....they are the sandwiches uncles now, moving up in the world....soooooo cool. 

This guy is a puppet and he will be the new authority on what is Sikhi in the USA.   So Sikhs in the states need to stay vigilant of this character and send a good message anytime he tries to be the voice for Sikhs.  This guy does not have the courage or Guru knowledge to speak for Sikhs in US.  He will bend and fold as his masters tell him.  

They say don't let history repeat itself but it will be repeated because Sikhs like being naive and fall for the same trick everytime.

Now the sjw can come out and defend his well groomed behavior. 

Edited by Akalifauj

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4 hours ago, Not2Cool2Argue said:

i bet the first thing he teaches the students is that, I am a Sikh not muslim, which is a good thing cuz more Sikh Awareness.

Are you kidding?

Why would he teach that? (That he's a Sikh.)

When you take a class about Islam, and the prof is a Christian, does he state that he's a Christian? No oone does that.

If the prof were a Muslim, do you think he would start off by saying "I am a Muslim"? Of course not, college professors don't do that.

"Simran Jeet Khan" is just another of these mushy Sikhs who don't have the courage to say "I'm not a Muslim". How much do you want to bet that he doesn't say "I'm not a Muslim"?

This is just a disaster waiting to happen, this man is going to further confuse Sikhs and Muslims in Americans' eyes.

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C'mom guys even Guru Nanak Dev ji went to Arab countries to teach them what true islam is...... He's just following the path, isn't he ?

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1 hour ago, Akalifauj said:

Simran Jeet Singh is a puppet. 

Preach it, bro.

2 hours ago, Akalifauj said:

This guy does not have the courage or Guru knowledge to speak for Sikhs in US.

Yeah, that's the point. He doesn't have the moral courage to call evil, evil.

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3 hours ago, Akalifauj said:

This is the new samosa uncle

What I find disconcerting is how weak Sikh "professors" look.

Here's "Simran Jeet Khan":

simran-jeet-singh-150x150.jpg

He can't even be bothered to wear a full turban.

Remember that NYC Sikh professor who got beat up by some toughs in Harlem? Prabhjot Singh:

62060529048310891-ahs5582.127.0.1301.195

When did we become a nation of 98-pound weaklings?

If the professor had looked like this:

11906354_1065947106749349_1006316669_n.j

do you think maybe those hoodlums would have thought twice about beating him up while walking with his wife and thereby emasculating and humiliating him?

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3 hours ago, Amit12 said:

C'mom guys even Guru Nanak Dev ji went to Arab countries to teach them what true islam is...... He's just following the path, isn't he ?

From where did you get/hear/find that Guru Sahib Ji went to taught true Islam? Why would Guru Nanak dev Ji would do that? 

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2 hours ago, BhForce said:

What I find disconcerting is how weak Sikh "professors" look.

Here's "Simran Jeet Khan":

simran-jeet-singh-150x150.jpg

He can't even be bothered to wear a full turban.

Remember that NYC Sikh professor who got beat up by some toughs in Harlem? Prabhjot Singh:

62060529048310891-ahs5582.127.0.1301.195

When did we become a nation of 98-pound weaklings?

If the professor had looked like this:

11906354_1065947106749349_1006316669_n.j

do you think maybe those hoodlums would have thought twice about beating him up while walking with his wife and thereby emasculating and humiliating him?

Yes, Sikhs need to be physically fit as rules laid down by Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib ji. However, it is not wise to make mockery of our brother or sister based on his physical and lifestyle they choose. 

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The guy is a SJW <banned word filter activated>. It's interesting that he defended clock boy mohammed because a SJW <banned word filter activated> will defend any Muslims even if its clear the Muslim is involved in a set up. The media kept saying that he had built an alarm when all the bozo did was buy a clock and disassemble it and put it in a suitcase and takes it to school! 

 

He scammed the mainstream media and even that nutter Obama invited him to the White House. I bet the security there didn't let him take his clock there!! He then went with his family to Qatar but when they found out what a shythole country that is as are all Islamic countries they ran back to the USA. 

As a Professor in a liberal dominated academic environment he probably teaches his students that Mohammed was a great supporter of women's right and all that bukwas. 

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20 hours ago, Amit12 said:

C'mom guys even Guru Nanak Dev ji went to Arab countries to teach them what true islam is...... He's just following the path, isn't he ?

No, bro, Guru Sahib told them that a true Muslim has a heart soft as wax:

ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਮੋਮ ਦਿਲਿ ਹੋਵੈ ॥

 

To be Muslim is to be kind-hearted like wax,

Have you ever met a Muslim who has a heart soft as wax?

"Simran Jeet Khan", on the other hand, is going to cover up for the Muslims by ignoring or minimizing the "bad parts" of the Koran and hadeeth. You should fully expect him to defend Islamic sex slavery, child marriage, temporary marriage, dhimmitude (humiliation of non-Muslims in an Islamic state), and other gems from the Koran.

 

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The gurus themselves never condemned Islam outright. Just told them to practice the parts of Islam that talk about Mercy etc and how to be better muslims. But did not condemn practices of islam 

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On 1/14/2019 at 2:24 AM, Akalifauj said:

So gullible.   

Simran Jeet Singh is a puppet. 

This is the new samosa uncle who they will call upon to speak for Sikhi because he's being groomed by these samosa uncles to take their spots. My bad not samosa uncles anymore....they are the sandwiches uncles now, moving up in the world....soooooo cool. 

This guy is a puppet and he will be the new authority on what is Sikhi in the USA.   So Sikhs in the states need to stay vigilant of this character and send a good message anytime he tries to be the voice for Sikhs.  This guy does not have the courage or Guru knowledge to speak for Sikhs in US.  He will bend and fold as his masters tell him.  

They say don't let history repeat itself but it will be repeated because Sikhs like being naive and fall for the same trick everytime.

Now the sjw can come out and defend his well groomed behavior. 

I think he does work with sikh coalition also , frabkly people who quote  52 Hukams  about other faiths forget the MAJOR proviso GuruPita ji gave , which is to keep and propgate sikhi uppermost . This guy fails as he makes islam more appealing  through his words and character, which gives false impression to viewers that muslims are like sikhs .... no one would equate the two normally but he doesn't care about that issue at all.

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