Education or Constitutional Violation? Sikh Students Asked to Teach Classmates on Their Religion

November 7, 2003

Source: The Mercury News

On November 7, 2003 The Mercury News reported that "The Sikh Council on Religion and Education based in Washington, D.C., is asking Sikh schoolchildren to ask their teachers today if they can read a short explanation of their religion." The high school version of the text reads in part: "Nov. 8, 2003 is the 534th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak who founded the Sikh religion. Guru means religious teacher or messenger. He was born in India in 1469. Guru Nanak was ahead of his times in preaching equality of all people. The society in which he lived divided people into high and low castes. He challenged the caste system by saying all people are equal; none are high or low. In India at that time, women were considered inferior beings and not allowed to be educated or even to worship publicly. Guru Nanak taught that women were equal to men, and that they and their abilities should be respected."