Despite Long History, Stockton Sikhs Feel Misunderstood

November 5, 2005

Source: The Record

On November 5, 2005 The Record reported, "The Sikh religion has a long history in Stockton. The Stockton temple is the oldest in the country, and Sikhs have lived in this part of California for more than a century. Yet Stockton Sikhs say they their religion and customs are still largely misunderstood by the general public... Some Sikhs say they have faced increased discrimination since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Others say they also have suffered verbal abuse, threats, harassment, racial profiling and violence... [Amrik Singh Dhaliwal, president of the Stockton temple] said the Stockton temple... has been vandalized but noted that hate crimes and harassment of Sikhs have not been as severe in Stockton as in other communities. He also praised law-enforcement authorities for educating their officers about Sikh attire and customs... [Jasbinder Singh Nijjer, treasurer of the temple] said [a] well-known parade, held in April to celebrate the birth of the modern Sikh faith, helps raise awareness about the religion. But more education is necessary to combat misperceptions and prevent discrimination, he said. Amrik Singh, another Stockton Sikh, said his community lacked the resources needed to educate the public."