Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pakistani Official Tends Sikh Shoes and Toilets To Atone Muslim Killing Of Sikh

Here's the beginning of the story, you can get the whole thing here.

Image of Golden Temple Amritsar
HASAN ABDAL: Thousands of Indian pilgrims barely registered the man in the orange bandanna and Ray-Ban sunglasses taking their shoes and storing them in wooden cubbyholes before they entered the Sikh shrine in Hasan Abdal.
The unassuming 62-year-old tending to the shoes is a top government lawyer and devout Muslim. At the shrine, he is on an unusual solo quest—taking on menial jobs to atone for the beheading of a Sikh by militants.

Over the past two years, Muhammed Khurshid Khan has traveled to Sikh shrines in Pakistan and India, volunteering to polish shoes, clean bathrooms, cook meals and do other chores. Such service is known as “seva”—selfless service—in Sikhism, and it holds a special place in the faith.

Attacks against Sikhs, Christians and Hindus have spiked in Pakistan in recent years as the Taliban and their allies gained strength. Atrocities by extremists against religious minorities now are so common that they rarely illicit more than routine condemnation by officials, much less collective contrition or shame.

In helping Sikhs, Khan is reaching out to an extremely small minority.
“I have a desire to serve the Sikh community because my community has done them serious harm, and that hurts me,” said Khan, taking a break from his work at the Gurdwara Panja Sahib.

Khan, one of two dozen deputy attorney generals in Pakistan, began his mission in 2010 after militants kidnapped three Sikhs returning from Afghanistan to their homes in Pakistan. The militants demanded some$240 thousand dollars—an amount the families could not afford. Two of the captives were freed in a commando raid, but 30-year-old Jaspal Singh had already been beheaded.

“That news pierced my heart,” said Khan. “How could Muslims do such harm to such a peaceful community?”

 The rest of the story is here.  

This comes from through a friend.  I can't find any other coverage of this, but Wikipedia says:
Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper. One of the country's two largest English-language dailies, it is the flagship of the Dawn Group of Newspapers, published by Pakistan Herald Publications, which also owns the Herald, a magazine, the evening paper The Star and Spider, an information technology magazine.

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