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Jul-23-2006 16:09printcomments

Fire at South Salem Temple Believed to be a Hate Crime

The Temple, located at 860 Oakhill Ave SE is the former home of the Good Shepard Lutheran Church.

Photos courtesy:, and

(SALEM) - Investigators believe an early morning fire and uprooting of a flagpole Saturday at the Dashmesh Darbar Sikh Temple in south Salem was a hate crime.

Investigators say a 4-foot flag with Khanda, the symbol of the Sikh faith was burned. The fire also spread to some nearby grass and a chain link fence that surrounded the flag pole, but was quickly extinguished.

Flowers were ripped out, and a bike was thrown onto the opposite side of the property.

If you have any information on the fire call Salem police at (503) 588-6123.

Additional information on the Temple, Sikhism, and flag:

The Khanda is the emblem of the Sikh faith, symbolizing the four pillars of Sikh belief.

It consists of four symbolic weapons:

In the center, the double edged sword, or khanda, from which the symbol derives its name. The Khanda represents knowledge of divinity and the creative power of God.

Surrounding the khanda is a circular quoit, called a Chakkar (or chakka, meaning wheel, from the same root as chakra), a medieval weapon which symbolizes the unity of God.

On either side, crossed daggers, or kirpans, called Piri and Miri (after the personal weapons of Guru Hargobind), symbolizing spiritual and temporal (earthly) power in balance.

Another important device incorporating this symbol is the Nishan Sahib, or Saffron banner, which adorns Sikh Gurudwaras (temples).

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji founded the Sikh religion in the fifteenth century as an attempt to reconcile the Hindu and Islamic religions. Guru Nanak was a revolutionary in those times- his teachings that women and men were equal, that caste was unimportant, and that there are many paths to God- were ahead of their time.

Churches/Temples: A Sikh temple is called a Gurdwara, meaning "House of the Guru, " or "Door to the Guru." All Gurdwaras contain a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, and are open to people of all faiths. The Harmiandir Sahib (Golden Temple) is an important religious center, but is not considered more holyt than any other Gurdwara. An important feature of the Sikh Temple is the Langar, a communal vegetarian meal open to people of all faiths.

A special initiatory baptismal rite is required to join the Khalsa, or "Brotherhood of Saints," although one does not have to be Khalsa to be Sikh. The Khalsa ("Pure Ones") order was founded by Guru Gobind Singh, their purpose to uphold Sikh values. Men and women who become initiates of the order are expected to adhere to a strict code of moral and ethical conduct, as they are the ambassadors of the faith. This code includes the observance of the five khalsas:

Kesa, or uncut hair, as a reminder to do no harm to the body. Male Sikhs usually wear their hair in a turban, as do many women.

Kacha (kaccha) , a special undergarment, as a symbol of marital chastity.


The Kanga, a wooden comb, symbolizing cleanliness.

The Kara, a circular steel bracelet, signifying devotion to eternal truth, Sikh unity, and a committment to abstain from wrongdoing.

The Kirpan, or ceremonial dagger, symbolizing the vow of a Khalsa to protect the weak and helpless.

Initiated male Khalsas adopt the last name "Singh," meaning "Lion;" women take the name "Kaur," meaning "Princess." The Khalsas' historic mission was to fight oppression and injustice.

Scripture: The Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the primary scripture of the Sikh religion; it consists of the Adi Granth- the writings of Guru Nanak, which constitute the first Sikh scripture, and later additions, including selections from the Koran and other scripture compiled by Guru Arjan and others. Other writings of the ten Gurus and of many non Sikhs are also believed to be spiritually valuable.

Misconceptions: Unfortunately, due to the events of September, 11, 2001, many Sikhs have been misidentified as Muslim extremists because their dress is similar to to that affected by Osama bin Laden. Many have been harassed, assaulted, or even killed. Sikhism is not an Islamic sect, and Sikhs believe in the equality of all human beings, regardless of gender, religion, race, or social status.

Basic teachings and Beliefs of Sikhism: Sikh beliefs are an interesting expansion on Hindu and Muslim ideas. Like Hindus, Sikhs believe in Dharma, (the law of Karma) reincarnation, and Samsara (the Hindu cycle of life and death). Like Muslims, they believe in a single deity, and eschew idolatry.

For more information


Comments are Closed on this story.

The Editor July 26, 2006 12:35 am (Pacific time)

Let's see, the Sikhs have their temple desecrated, our reporter goes to the place, talks to the people there, takes pictures, and then uses the Sikh Website for information on their background so people can learn more. We write more stories in a month than you will probably read over a good span of your life there Mike. I shouldn't even post ridiculous comments like yours but I try to be fair. Jayson Blair made up the news, he created things that didn't happen and he wrote about them. He was a liar, and you, who I assume to be a junior high schooler? You can go somewhere else for your news, or learn what the heck you are talking about before you say it.

mike July 25, 2006 11:21 pm (Pacific time)

Most of the article is plagiarized from another source, that's where I get "Jayson Blair." If the intent was to educate, they could habve either linked to the information or written their own. Stealing someone else's writing is not justified.

The Editor July 25, 2006 7:04 pm (Pacific time)

Boy oh boy Mike, That really is an amazing comment. What exactly are you talking about? Are you slamming the person who left the comment, or the story? Where on earth do you find plagiarism? They are just trying to point people in a direction. The story is a follow up on what happened to a temple in South Salem. Jayson Blair?

mike July 25, 2006 6:21 pm (Pacific time)

No, that's not a source, a source is acknowledged. I think we're looking at good old fashioned plagiarism here. I alwways did wonder what happened to Jayson Blair.

Jason July 24, 2006 10:58 pm (Pacific time)

Readers of the "additional information" might be interested in the source:

Ranjeet Singh July 24, 2006 6:56 am (Pacific time)

Is this what freedom to worship without discrimination is all about?

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