Sikh Leaders Demand Equal Rights

December 10, 2003

Source: Courier News,2111,867026,00.html

On December 10, 2003 the Courier News reported that "Sikh leaders, saying their beards and turbans have often made them targets for discrimination, gathered at the Statehouse on Tuesday to launch an information campaign aimed at ending hate-based insults they have endured since 9-11. The start of the New Jersey Sikh Civil Rights and Civic Initiative displayed a marked contrast to many other interest groups that rally, amid shouts and fiery addresses, at the Statehouse. Sikh men gathering for Tuesday's event preceded their remarks by standing in a circle and praying... The men then unraveled tales of how they had been shouted at and ridiculed, and sometimes discriminated against at work. One father told of his son being verbally abused by educators, then fleeing to England, where he said Sikhs are more accepted. All of this, they said, arose because of misdirected blame for the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001." Sikhs are now seeking to educate Americans on their religion. They also seek to be allowed into the military and into law enforcement jobs without having to cut their hair or beards, and being allowed to wear their turbans. They also want to be able to carry sacred daggers, which they insisted are articles of faith and not weapons.