A major report to be released today in Washington, D.C. highlights the rising number of incidents of hate, violence, and bias against Sikhs worldwide. The Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Report - to be issued at a briefing held by UNITED SIKHS
A major report to be released today in Washington, D.C. highlights the rising number of incidents of hate, violence, and bias against Sikhs worldwide.
The Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Report - to be issued at a briefing held by UNITED SIKHS at 441 Cannon House Office Building at 4 p.m. today - outlines continuing acts of hate and prejudice against Sikhs in the United States. These incidents include: the August 2012 massacre of Sikhs by a white supremacist at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the hate-motivated attack on an 80-year-old Sikh outside a Sikh temple in California; and the shooting of a Sikh in Port Orange, Florida while he was driving a car with his 13-year-old son.
"The greatest danger facing humanity is religious-fuelled nationalism, the cloak of sanctity over the politics of hate," says distinguished scholar and retired judge Sir Mota Singh. "We must appreciate all faiths, recognize that they offer rich spiritual experiences, and encourage their followers to a nobler way of life."
Among those scheduled to speak at the UNITED SIKHS briefing are: Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA); Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Chair of the International Religious Freedom Caucus; Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI); Elizabeth Cassidy, Deputy Director for Policy Research, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and Brian Bachman, Acting Director, U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Office.
Compiled from research, field observations, surveys, and input on Sikh issues from local residents and lawyers in various countries around the world, as well as reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Report also details the hate-motivated assault on a Sikh professor at Columbia University while he was out for a walk in Harlem, New York; the non-acceptance of devout Sikhs in the U.S. armed forces and ROTC; discriminatory treatment of Sikhs by employers; and discounting Sikhs as a separate category in the U.S. census.
The report also notes incidents of hate and bias against Sikhs in more than two dozen countries worldwide, as well as advances in Sikhs' rights made during the past year. These advances include an amendment to a law in Queensland, Australia to exempt turbaned Sikh bike riders from wearing helmets and 40 Sikh students' successful defense of their right to wear turbans at a Catholic school in Baramullah, Kashmir.
Despite these gains, the report points out "the slippery slopes Sikhs are travelling on in countries like Belgium and France," notes Mejindarpal Kaur, International Legal Director of UNITED SIKHS. "In thousands of Belgian Flemish GO schools, the Sikh turban will be banned … and France has announced the possibility of extending the turban ban to universities. While a Sikh fights a battle within him or herself to understand and implement his or her guru's definition of the Sikh identity, Sikh civil and human rights organizations are facing an increasing demand to advocate for religious freedom of Sikhs."
For more information about the Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Report and United Sikhs, visit www.unitedsikhs.org/.
About United Sikhs
United Sikhs is a United Nations-affiliated international non-profit, humanitarian relief, human development, and advocacy organization. Our mission is to transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational, and personal development programs.