My Take: An American tradition of bigotry

Published: Thursday, Aug. 9 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Sikh women, men, and children hold candles during a prayer vigil at the Sikh Religious Society temple in Palatine, Ill., Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. The vigil was held in memory of those killed and wounded at a Sikh temple shooting near Milwaukee over the weekend.

Daily Herald, Mark Welsh, AP photo

Our take: Religion scholar Stephen Prothero responds to this week's fatal shootings at a Sikh temple by explaining that Americans can break the historical cycle of violence and bigotry against foreign faiths by becoming more educated about religions other than their own and reacquainting themselves "with our 'grand tradition' of religious liberty."

Like many Americans, I reacted to the murders at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, with horror, and to the apparent arson at a Joplin, Missouri, mosque with sadness.

But I did not react with shock.

As the adviser to the Sikh Association at Boston University and a professor of many Muslim students, I am aware of the day-to-day discrimination these religious minorities experience in the United States. And as a historian I am aware of the history of discrimination against both groups throughout U.S. history.

Read more about My Take: An American tradition of bigotry on CNN.

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