Police Held This Sikh Family At Gunpoint Because Their Tire Popped

Police Held This Sikh Family At Gunpoint Because Their Tire Popped

Members of every religion deserve respect, even when under police investigation.
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After receiving a report of the sound of a firearm being discharged from an orange BMW, Hitchin police arrived at the home of Sukhi Rayat and his family to investigate. Rayat and his 17-year-old son were handcuffed, held at gunpoint, searched, and had their home raided. What police perceived and treated as a threat of illegal firearm possession turned out to be nothing at all. They surmised that the sound the caller described as that of a gunshot emitted from the tire puncture the vehicle had encountered. The trauma that the Rayat family encountered was for naught.

In a post-9/11 world, Sikhs have frequently faced these situations. Though the FBI only began tracking attacks targeting them in 2015, the evidence of misguided and racial bias against them is countless. Since the attacks in Manchester and Barcelona, it seems that the bias is inescapable and increasingly systematized.

Rayat stated that “People are on edge at the moment. I get that and I totally get what the police have done. But this just shows people have a real lack of understanding about who’s who.”

The family was deeply upset about the nature of the raid, particularly given that police officers ignored their requests to remove their shoes before entering their prayer room, where their religious texts and items were stored. Rayat also posits, “We made our feelings known about the disrespect with the shoes. I asked what sort of training they go through – that should be basic. You should understand people’s religious beliefs.”

In the days following the raid, Chief Inspector Julie Wheatley visited the family to apologize for the disrespect demonstrated unto their religion, and for the ordeal, but her narrative reflects a priority for her duty above all else.

Wheatley states that “...you can imagine, in the current climate – we’ve just had the awful events in Barcelona – if we get reports like this involving firearms, we’re duty-bound to act. And I think the public would be up in arms if we didn’t.” She continues, “We’ve got to manage the risk and the threat there could be to public safety, and that’s our main concern. I think I speak for all the public when I say we cannot take any risks.”

She denies that her officers were requested to remove their shoes prior to entering the prayer room, but the Rayat family collectively confirms that they did. She does not disqualify their claim, but still defends the actions of her team, arguing that a search of that manner must be conducted quickly. She states, “We at the police are always keen to learn. We’re trained about different cultural issues and religions, but it’s all different when you’re in a firearms quick-time operation.”

Disregarding general courtesy according to the gravity of an operation seems debatable, particularly when the gravity is ultimately null. The apology the police have issued does little to alter the reality of the situation so much as it does the narrative. Wheatley describes risk as something applicable to the citizens of Hitchin.

Are the Rayats not also put at risk when disrespected and unnecessarily searched?

Cover Image Credit: G / Twitter

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Say "I Love You" More

Sometimes, people need the reminder.
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You assume they already know.

You look at your best friend and think about how lucky you are that they are in your life, how much you appreciate their presence, how much you love having them there. How much you love having them. But they know that already, right? So you smile and shake the thought out of your head and carry on with what you were talking about.

Sure, they probably already know. But sometimes, people need the reminder. Think about the last bad day you had. The last time you laid in bed, stared at the ceiling, cried and felt totally unimportant. Wouldn't it have helped if you were told at that moment that you are loved? That someone cares about you? That you matter?

I've heard it said a lot that you can't love someone until you learn to love yourself. This is just nonsense. The amount that someone loves themselves does not reflect how open their heart is, how much they give to people. Many times, the ones who are struggling love the hardest, regardless of what they feel when they are all alone.

They need the reminder too.

Every time someone has shared with me how they feel about me, that moment has stayed on my mind for months. In fact, they still are. It's important for people to feel like they matter. It's necessary sometimes to remind them that they do.

What's the point in holding it in? What good does it do anyone to not share what you feel, to not share in the love and compassion you have inside of you?

I am a very emotional person. Not only that, but I am a very vocal person. This is because I once spent too long holding in my feelings, only to be burned by that. Now I share. Sometimes, I overshare how I feel. This includes telling people who are very aware of how I feel about them that I love having them in my life for the thirteenth time that week. I feel annoying sometimes, being compelled to do so. However, my friend told me once that through me, he is learning how to love better. How to love more.

That never left me. The idea that because I am loving someone, they can love more too shocked me. I didn't think I had anywhere near that power. But, it made me realize how important it is to make sure people know how much you care. Even if they already do. The reminder can do much more than you will ever realize.

Tell people you love them. Don't be afraid of being honest, real, true. We only have a limited time to live our lives. Don't waste time not spreading the love you can.

Cover Image Credit: Scott Web

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