KVIE documentary contrasts religions, stereotypes

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 - 3:28 pm

KVIE-TV will air the documentary “The Asian and Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America” from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. The film will explore the relationship involving Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The documentary will examine their similarities and differences and with the Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – and how they perceive each other and confront stereotypes. The film takes viewers inside the Sikh Temple in Yuba City, where 48 hours of continuous reading of the Sikh Holy Scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, has begun.

While Sikhs have enjoyed broad-based success in the United States, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, there was an upsurge in anti-Sikh discrimination across the nation, including a number of incidents that involved physical attacks on Sikhs who were wearing turbans, said producer Jerry Krell.

The Sikh gurdwara, or temple, in San Jose held a fundraiser for 9/11 victims. The hosts outlined Sikh history and beliefs, but the guests somehow didn’t comprehend.

“As we were taking them back to their cars, they asked us what sect of Islam we belong to,” said one interviewee in the film. Dr. Jasbir Kang, a Yuba City physician and author of “Punjabi Migration to the United States,” is interviewed in Stockton at the oldest Sikh gurdwara in the United States, along with Dr. Bruce La Brack, professor of anthropology and international studies at the University of the Pacific and author of “The Sikhs of Northern California” and “Sikhs in the United States.”

Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, notes Sikhism and Judaism have both “experienced a sense of persecution, a sense of vulnerability, a sense of being a minority that has to maintain its own particular culture and identity and values often in the face of a great deal of hostility, and there is no question that this experience has substantially formulated Sikh consciousness just as it has substantially formulated Jewish consciousness.”

Read more articles by Stephen Magagnini



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