Sikh And Interfaith Groups Ask For Turban Accommodation

December 5, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Sikh News Network

A Sikh and an interfaith group are asking a North Carolina mission, which turned away a Sikh donor wearing a turban, to change its no-hats policy to accommodate religious headgear.

Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance in Washington, sent a letter this week to Jeff Holm, chairman of the board of the Union Mission in Roanoke Rapids, to express his “deep concern” related to the treatment of Gurnam Singh Khera when he attempted to make a donation.

In his letter, Gaddy said: “We strongly urge you to change your policies to allow all people to support your worthy organization and helping individuals in great need.”

On Nov. 18, Reverend Ron Weeks, executive director of the mission, refused to let Gurnam Singh enter the building because he would not remove his religiously mandated turban. He and his wife, Gwendolyn, had gone there to donate $200 and to apply for their children to volunteer there during the holidays, Gurnam Singh said.

The mission’s receptionist first stopped him, saying: “This is the United States, you have to take that turban off,” Gurnam Singh said. Then Weeks came and stood near the front door. The mission has a no-hats policy, he said. No exceptions. He refused Gurnam Sigh’s donation for the mission, which feeds and houses the needy, and showed him the door.