Sikh Temple Shooting: Of Martian Rovers and Terror in Holy Spaces

Sikh Temple Shooting: Of Martian Rovers and Terror in Holy Spaces

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How do violence, holy spaces, and diversity intersect in America?

Terror in holy spaces is not a new facet of American religious history. Church and synagogue bombings occurred during the civil rights movement, including the notorious 1963 attack that took the lives of four young girls in Birmingham, Alabama. Sikh Americans have been targeted and killed in acts of terror before and after the events of 9/11. Religionists can quickly rattle off myriad global, historical sites of contested holy space. But there is still something deeply nauseating, unhomed, un-everything, about attacks on vulnerable human beings at prayer, or about to pray. We want to believe in religious spaces as safe dwellings, as sanctuaries in the most literal sense of the word—but they have also long been targets for Americans who fear change.

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