Sikhs Seek Understanding of their Faith After 9/11

November 26, 2005

Source: Star-Telegram

Wire Service: RNS

On November 26, 2005 Religion News Service reported, "Facing mounting discrimination since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a number of Sikh-American groups have begun a campaign to explain their religion to the American public and to differentiate their beliefs from those of Muslims. There have been more than 600 reported instances of discrimination and violence against Sikhs since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Because Sikh men wear turbans in accordance with their religious tradition, they often have been misidentified as Muslims and Arabs, leading some people to believe they are allied with the al Qaeda terrorist network... To change the misconceptions, Sikhs have begun a campaign to explain their religion to other Americans. Parents make school presentations about their children's identity; films are produced to show who Sikhs are; Sikh organizations are politically involved to voice their concerns with Congress and the judicial system; a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution on Sikhism is also helping to make more people aware... Filmmaker Vinanti 'Vina' Sarkar... produced a documentary profiling Sikh Americans as a reaction to incidents of violence against Sikhs after Sept. 11... The Sikh organization SALDEF has created a law-enforcement education program that informs security agents about Sikhs and their religion... The Sikh Council on Religion and Education also lobbies Congress."