Sunday October 21, 2018

Sikhism in Iran – a part of cultural diaspora

Iran was a secure country so, they started to do business in Iran.

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Sikhism, Image source: Wikimedia commons
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Iran is a predominantly a Muslim populated country. The majority of the population that lives here are Muslims. In fact, Islam is the official religion of Islam. But there’s a lot more that Iran has to offer in terms of its cultural diversity.

Watch this video on Sikhism in Iran:

  • Besides Islam, there are several other minority religious groups living in Iran such as Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrians, Hindus etc.
  • Sikhs in Iran are sort of a closed community. The first Sikhs came to Iran from Punjab before 1947 via Zahedan border. Iran and India were neighbours and Pakistan was not yet established. Iran was a secure country so, they started to do business in Iran.
  • Sikhs are monotheists. They worship only one God (almighty). They believe that God brought them to this world to learn and follow his orders and also to build our lives according to his teachings.

Related articleIndia seeks enhanced economic ties with Iran

  • Sikhs men wear Turbans and women wear Indian traditional dresses. Everyone cover their head inside Gurudwaras as a sign of respect. There are even schools attached to the temples which are opened to non-Sikh students. Occasionally Langars (community kitchen) are organised in which pure vegetarian food are served.
  • There have been rumours that Sikhs were inspired by Iranian flags. Some speculate that the new Iran’s flag looks a lot like Sikh symbol.
  • Initially, nearly 5000 Sikhs were settled in Iran but with the Islamic revolution population of Sikhs declined significantly. Presently in Tehran (Iran’s national capital), nearly 60-100 families live.
Sikh community, Wikimedia commons
Sikh community, Wikimedia commons
  • Sikhs have been in Iran for more than 100 years. Apart from some occasional repressions, there hasn’t been any major violence in Iran against Indians (especially Hindus). Iranians love the Sikh community and same goes the other way round. Sikhs living there love Iran. They consider Iran as their homeland. Pleased with the government they feel safe and happy there.

Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is  a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. Twitter @pritam_gogreen

 

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    So good to hear about how pleased the Sikhs are with Iran. Really happy to know that people are understanding the shift caused by industrialization

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Twitter Releases Tweets Showing Attempts Of Influence On U.S. Politics From Foreign Countries

All of the accounts linked to the massive trove of tweets released by Twitter have been suspended or deleted.

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Twitter
The Twitter logo is shown at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California. VOA

On Wednesday, Twitter released a collection of more than 10 million tweets related to thousands of accounts affiliated with Russia’s Internet Research Agency propaganda organization, as well as hundreds more troll accounts, including many based in Iran.

The data, analyzed and released in a report by The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, are made up of 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, 770 other accounts potentially based in Iran as well as 10 million tweets and more than 2 million images, videos and other media.

Russian trolls targeting U.S. politics took on personas from both the left and the right. Their primary goal appears to have been to sow discord, rather than promote any particular side, presumably with a goal of weakening the United States, the report said.

DFRlab says the Russian trolls were often effective, drawing tens of thousands of retweets on certain posts including from celebrity commentators like conservative Ann Coulter.

Russia, Twitter
The Internet Research Agency building, dubbed the Russian troll factory, is seen at Savushkina Street in St. Petersburg, Russia. VOA

Some of the tweets posted:

“Judgement Day is here. Please vote #TrumpPence16 to save our great nation from destruction! #draintheswamp #TrumpForPresident,” said a fake Election Day tweet in 2016.

“Daily reminder: Trump still hasn’t imposed sanctions on Russia that were passed 4,193 in the House and 982 in the Senate. Shouldn’t that be grounds for impeachment?” said another tweet in March of this year.

Multiple goals

The Russian operation had multiple goals, including interfering in the U.S. presidential election, polarizing online communities, and weakening trust in American institutions, according to the DFRLab.

“The thing to understand is that the Russians were equal opportunity partisans,” Graham Brookie, one of the researchers behind the analysis, told VOA News. “There was a very specific focus on specific ideological communities and specific demographics.”

Twitter
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, speaks at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington. VOA

Following an initial push to prevent Hillary Clinton from being elected in 2016, the analysis identified a “second wave” of fake accounts, many of which were focused on infiltrating anti-Trump groups, especially those identified with the “Resistance” movement, exploiting sensitive issues such as race relations and gun violence. These often achieved greater impact than their conservative counterparts.

“Don’t ever tell me kneeling for the flag is disrespectful to our troops when Trump calls a sitting Senator “Pocahontas” in front of Native American war heroes,” tweeted an account posing as an African-American woman named “Luisa Haynes” under the handle @wokeluisa in November 2017. The tweet garnered more than 32,000 retweets and over 89,000 likes.

“They tried to inflame everybody, regardless of race, creed, politics or sexual orientation,” the Lab noted in its analysis. “On many occasions, they pushed both sides of divisive issues.”

Iran trolling

Iran’s trolling was primarily focused on promoting its own interests, including attacking regional rivals like Israel and Saudi Arabia.

However, Iran’s trolling was less effective than the Russian posts, with most tweets getting limited responses.

Twitter
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

This was partially because of posting styles that were less inflammatory, according to the report.

“Few of the accounts showed distinctive personalities: They largely shared online articles,” according to the report. “As such, they were a poor fit for Twitter, where personal comment tends to resonate more strongly than website shares.” Generally, many troll posts were ineffective, and “their operations were washed away in the firehose of Twitter.”

All of the accounts linked to the massive trove of tweets released by Twitter have been suspended or deleted, and the analysis notes that overall activity from suspected Russian trolls fell this year after Twitter clampdowns in September and June 2017.

Also Read: Facebook Better Prepared To Defend Itself Against External Manipulation For The Elections

But, that does not mean political trolls do not still pose a threat.

“Identifying future foreign influence operations, and reducing their impact, will demand awareness and resilience from the activist communities targeted, not just the platforms and the open source community,” according to the report. (VOA)