Brawl breaks out at Queens gurdwara

A brawl broke out at a Queens, NY gurdwara Sunday after a dispute about membership rolls turned violent.

The New York Daily News reports:

Seven people were arraigned on riot and assault charges Monday for their roles in a vicious turf battle at a Sikh temple in Queens.

Assailants wielding cricket bats and small swords disrupted prayer services Sunday morning at the Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Sikh Center in Richmond Hill, police and witnesses said.

“I’m going to kill you,” defendant Harinder Singh, 47, screamed before punching Joginder Singh in the face, says a criminal complaint filed in Queens Supreme Court.

Gurnam Singh, 47, rushed into the temple swinging a stick and lunging at others while religious ceremonies were underway, the complaint says.

The NY Post adds this detail:

The attackers brought the long sword and at least one other blade, as well as a hammer, mallet and cricket bats to the temple at 101st Avenue and 114th Street at around 11 a.m., witnesses and police said.

As you can imagine, New York City’s tabloids have had a field day with this story. Be sure to read the Langer Hall’s analysis of the coverage.

Tagore makes a (uncredited) Congressional cameo

Actor Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now) spoke before a Congressional briefing last week in favor of funding for drug courts.

The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column singled out this section of his “heartfelt, yet grandiose oratory”:

“A dream that helps lift up this nation and all its people to a place where the heart is without fear and the head is held high and knowledge is free, where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls where words come out from the depths of truth and tireless driving stretches its arms towards perfection where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way to dreary desert sands of dead habit.”

Sound familiar? As the Reliable Source pointed out in a follow-up column, Sheen forgot to note that he was quoting from Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali.

It looks like the mistake was inadvertent. Sheen quoted the same Tagore excerpt during a 2008 speech at Notre Dame and promptly devoted the next paragraph to explaining who Tagore was.

Sheen first became familiar with the poem while filming the movie Gandhi in 1981.