NEW YORK, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- As the Sikh community in the United States is recovering from the Wisconsin temple tragedy, a Harvard professor said Sikhs have emerged as a role model for Americans who can learn from the dignity and generosity of the community, Press Trust of India reported.
"Most Americans still know little of the Sikh Americans whose history in the US dates to the early 20th century and is now part of our common history.
"While we catch up on our basic education, it is important to know that Sikhs share three distinctly and deeply American values: the importance of hard work, a commitment to human equality and the practice of neighbourly hospitality," said Diana Eck, Harvard University professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies in an editorial in the Dallas Morning News.
Six members of the Sikh community were killed in a Wisconsin temple on Aug 5 when gunman Michael Wade Page opened fire as they prepared for Sunday morning prayers.
Page was wounded by a police officer and died from a self-inflicted gun shot to the head.
"If Page had been simply a neighbour or a local visitor, he would have been warmly welcomed by the community and served food in the temple," said Eck.
In the face of immense tragedy after the shooting, Sikhs offered food they prepared to the hundreds of emergency workers, police officers and staff who surrounded the temple.
"The dignity and generosity of the Sikh community in the wake of this violence remind us just how much we have to learn from these neighbours," Eck said.
Eck said, "No other religious community demonstrates the meaning of hospitality as abundantly as the Sikhs" and noted the "huge industrial-size kitchens" in temples that prepared food for community members and strangers alike.
"This hospitality is not just a gesture, it is foundational to the Sikh faith. Eating together is what knits the Sikh community together and breaks down the barriers that divide the wider human community," the professor said.
"Sikhs remind us that eating together is one of the important liturgies of the human community, for people of every faith and none," she added.
The shooting shocked the peaceful Sikh community which received wide spread support and sympathy from the global community.