Waking up to another mindless act of terror is becoming far too regular an occurrence. From Paris, to Ankara, Istanbul and now Brussels, a group financed by large amounts of foreign oil money and twisted by warped ideologies is causing destruction on a global scale not seen in years.
My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of all those in Brussels who either lost their lives or suffered life changing injuries for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After any such incident the first thoughts should always be with those suffering, whether its Belgian families who have lost sons and daughters, French citizens who have seen their beautiful capital attacked on a number of occasions or Middle Eastern families who face such acts on a regular basis.
Understanding politics is an important skill as it dispels ignorance and helps you make sense of why certain things happen but I am by no means a political commentator. What I can confidently state is that these acts of terror do not represent an entire belief system of a people.
Sikhs have suffered for hundreds of years against the attacks of radical Islamists, Sikh's were killed in their thousands for refusing to convert to Islam. But for every Aurangzeb, there was a Farid. For every extremist who wanted the blood of Sikhs, there were hundreds of real Muslims like Mardana and Mian Mir who wanted to live in peace, harmony and coexistence.
There are extremists in every tribal grouping. There are extremist football fans, extremist nationalists and extremists from pretty much every religious group. The only difference in Islam is that the extremists, the minority, are very well funded by oil money. This funding gives them the platform to spew their twisted, warped view of their religion to the world. Imagine the Westboro Church in the US, imagine if they had a similar financial backing, they'd be pretty dangerous too.
The fact is as long as Governments and Corporates continue to cut business deals with countries that fund terror, these attacks will continue to be funded. People are quick to blame religion (and there are rightfully parts of religion that need to be looked at), but greed has always been the driving force of evil and it continues to be to this day. The truth is me and you probably have more in common with the average guy in the Arab world than we do with rich corporates here and these Arabs probably have more in common with us than they do with oil rich Princes in the Gulf States.
And that brings me right back to Belgium. The Belgians have a beautiful motto that is more apt today than ever before: unity makes strength. The world needs to stand tall with the Belgians, denounce ideologies that bring so much suffering and be the support for Belgium in their time of need. These groups want nothing better than for Europeans to turn on other Europeans but as long as we think about Belgium and what it stands for, this is something that will never happen.
The weeks after an attack usually see a backlash. Unfortunately, because Sikhs have large turbans and beards, most revenge attacks are suffered by Sikhs, most of the extra security checks at airports will be borne by Sikhs. I would suggest Sikhs be extra vigilant, introduce yourselves if someone looks frightened and explain what you stand for. At airports be co-operative but at the same time be firm in the knowledge that no-one can strip away your rights. 80,000 Sikhs died in France and Belgium defending democracy and the Western right of way, we have every right to live with honour and dignity, but over the next few weeks we should be mindful of others around us and be sensitive to their fears.
As Sikhs we should also stand together with both Belgians and Muslims. Both groups will be frightened, one of further attacks, the other of retaliation. As Sikhs our core belief is that all of existence is part of one energy; therefore the frightened Belgian, or the fearful Muslim are one and the same.
Finally, for anyone in Brussels that has been affected by the attacks and needs a safe place there is a Sikh Temple in the city that will offer you free food and a safe place to stay. The address is: Lange Molenstraat 14, 1800 Vilvoorde, Belgium
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.