This weekend, I was asked to speak at a multi-faith event in Bradford on ‘How to Combat Hate.’
With the atrocities happening around the world – in Brussels, Yemen, Libya, Bagdad, Turkey – how do we combat hate?
My message was …. it starts with me. It starts with you. It starts with us as a community.
Looking back at how I was brought up, and to some extent, how I am still being brought up I was taught three things
- there is the same light within each one of us
- to treat those you meet as your mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter
- to treat everyone with the same equality, trust, acceptance and tolerance that you would want your own mother, father, son or daughter to be treated with
Let me take each one in turn.
The first words in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, holy scriptures of the Sikhs is Ik Onkar meaning There is But One God. Many people would say that just means there is one God. However, there is an extra word ‘But’ – this changes the meaning. There is But One God means there is God within each and every one of us, there if God within each and every human being, there is God within each and every Animal and Plant.
This first step at combating hate is to remember this and treat others not as black or white, not as male or female, not as young or old – but as fellow souls, fellow creatures of Gods creation.
Seeing others as your family
Whilst growing up, I was taught that when I see another individual I should see them as my mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter. Having this type of thinking changes how you look at another human being – you start treating everyone as you would your parents, your sibling or your children. Just because the elderly lady crossing the road isn’t my grandmother; should that mean I don’t help her with carrying her shopping home? Just because that little boy in the playground isn’t my son; does that mean I don’t go ask if he’s ok when I spot him crying? That is still somebodies grandmother. That is still somebodies son. And if we remember each one of us has the same light, we are all souls of Gods creation; then that means she is my grandmother and he is my son.
Treating others with respect
In Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji it says Why Call Her Bad, From Her Kings are Born, this shows me that everyone – male or female, black or white, relgious or not should be treated in the same way. We all bleed the same red blood. We all have the same light within us and as such should treat each other with respect. We should allow each other to follow our paths, providing we don’t hurt others. We should celebrate what unites us and understand our different beliefs. Its about respect, tolerance and acceptance.
To me, this is the foundation of combating hatred. Start with changing your own approach to how you see others, then influence those around you, and allow them to influence people around them. Remember that everyone has the same light within them.