Islamic State Targeting Sikhs in Europe?
Three teens of Turkish descent, who built and planted a bomb which led to a violent explosion ripping through a Gurudwara in the western German city of Essen, were all members of a Whatsapp group called ‘Supporters of the Islamic Caliphate’. This could be a clear indication of a wage war against the non-Abrahamic religions in the West.
The teenagers, Mohammed B. from Essen,Yusuf T. from Gelsenkurchen and Tolga I. were found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and causing an explosion. Much to the shock of seasoned investigators, the federal prosecutor did not consider the bombing an act of terrorism but a holy duty.
Mohammed and Yusuf had planned to plant the bomb earlier in the day during a Sikh wedding of 200 people to cause maximum human damage, but unable to sneak the bomb into the venue, planted the device later in the evening. Authorities stated that had the device been detonated during the wedding that the toll of injuries would have been higher, including possible multiple fatalities.
Prior to the attack the teens were known to police and had criminal backgrounds. They also had close ties to local Salafist organisations, and were Islamic State sympathisers.
Yusuff had also praised the November Paris attacks and threatened a Jewish classmate saying that he would “break her neck”. His last session on the programme was only four days before the attack on the Gurudwara.
Any Sikh reading the news would have understood the motive, just as any Jew or Christian would have understood precisely why Islamic extremists target synagogues or churches. It was a religiously motivated attack, designed to remind Germany’s Sikh community that they should also be fearful.
In the long, tumultuous history that Sikhs and Muslims have, the Sikh Gurus had refused to vilify any adherents of Islam, but while Sikhism teaches that all religious traditions should be respected, there are many chronicles about Islam targeting Sikh communities.
Even today, persecution still exists. Prior to the collapse of the Kabul government in 1992, there were 220,000 Sikhs and Hindus across Afghanistan. Only 220 families now remain. Many have fled atrocities and have found sanctuary in the West, for the simple reason they are considered ‘Kafirs’, a derogatory term for non-Muslims. The remaining Sikhs have been forced to wear yellow patches to identify themselves in public, in a similar way to Jews being made to wear the Star of David under the Third Reich. Kidnappings, violence and compulsion to pay the jizya – a tax imposed on non-Muslims – have almost become societal norms.
The attack on the Sikh temple in Germany is a timely reminder that Islamists don’t just see the West as their mortal enemy, but view all who don’t subscribe to their warped ideology as fair game.