By: Surjit Singh Flora
Over 130 years ago, Sikhs arrived in America. Dismal economic conditions in British India drove many Indians to leave for the U.S. in the late 19th century.
True, 130 years later, sadly. Even in India, Sikhs aren’t safe. Many whites in America, Australia, and Europe are unaware of Sikhism, and many baptized Sikhs carry the Kirpan (sword). To them, Sikhs resemble Muslims with their long beards and turbans. Many anti-Muslim whites mistake Sikhs for Muslims and have killed them with guns and other deadly weapons. Sad. It’s time these areas knew Sikhs and Sikhism.
After 9/11, Americans equated turbans and beards with terrorism, worsening the situation. These difficulties still persist more than 21 years later, particularly when nationalism rises and minority populations are utilized as weapons. Sikhs still face more racism, discrimination, and hostility than other communities.
We also have New Jersey’s AG and Hoboken’s mayor being Sikhs. Turbaned Sikhs are professionals, merchants, truck drivers, teachers, etc.
And American police are highly aware of Sikh religious iconography, so why would the University of North Carolina at Charlotte or anybody else hold a Sikh wearing a Kirpan? He was carrying one of the five Sikh insignias.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweeted an apology.
Despite worldwide attempts to raise awareness of Sikh symbols, UNC Campus Police detained a Sikh youth for wearing a Kirpan.
Later, even the University of North Carolina at Charlotte apologized to the Sikh student who was detained for wearing a kirpan.
But the question is why someone called 911 to report a knife at UNC Charlotte. When most people were aware of the Sikh symbols, even the police arrived and questioned the man. Worse, he was handcuffed as cops seized the item. The item was a kirpan, a religious object in Sikhism.
State law and university policy restrict knife possession on campus, but we’ll utilize this as a learning opportunity by engaging in constructive discourse with Sikh students and workers. Together, we can develop acceptable measures and educational opportunities to ensure campus safety and religious traditions. Diverse communities are better, wealthier, and more successful. Every Niner should feel encouraged and protected. We’re sorry he didn’t feel welcome in our union last week. We’ll never let it happen again “message.
This viral video on Twitter reacted strongly to the 2.2 million views.
A Twitter user posted comments such as, “It’s awful you were detained without provocation or threats.” Many Americans carry pistols lawfully and aren’t detained. I hope the lawsuit is rejected and I apologize for “less
Another user added, “This should be investigated, and the police should be disciplined and instructed on the validity of baptized Sikhs carrying sacred objects. Sikhs have carried this for years without issue. “
Also, one of the Twitter users wrote, “Everyone should have fundamental knowledge of various faiths, including Sikhism and the 5 K’s.”
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution enables Sikhs to carry kirpans. It’s a symbol. They remind Sikhs of their dedication to justice, generosity, morality, humility, and equality.
To Sikhs, the kirpan represents their faith and the battle of virtue and morality against evil and injustice, both individually and socially.
If Muslim women may wear hijabs and Jewish men can wear yarmulkes, why can’t Sikhs? Even though they’re headdresses, they’re nevertheless religious symbols.
The Crucifix (a cross with a depiction of Christ’s body) is worn by Christians to remember Christ’s agony and the event that redeemed them from everlasting damnation and to evangelize others. It’s to remember their faith. When you sin, it’s one thing to believe you’re alone and hidden (even if you’re not from God), but it’s another to sin publicly as a Christian.
Sikhs use kirpans for protection, and others shouldn’t be afraid.
All U.S. citizens have the freedom to practice any religion under the Bill of Rights. As a result, Sikhs can wear their kirpan anywhere.
Sikhs should be permitted to carry kirpans. First, we must tell everyone why we’re carrying Kirpan. When other ways to build peace and harmony fail, this Kirpan protects the disadvantaged. We can establish our position by creating an unquestionable character.
Some American Sikhs believe established Sikhs aren’t doing enough.
Sikhs have five beliefs. Uncut hair (including beards) and the turban are Sikh articles of faith. Most turban-wearing Americans are Sikhs. Keeping visible religious objects symbolizes a Sikh’s commitment to service, compassion, and honesty. Like other minority groups in America, Sikhs have struggled for civil rights. The Sikhs have contributed much to American civilization, yet they are still disliked. Lack of awareness about Sikh culture and religion, along with Sikhs’ being easy to detect, has led to prejudice, bigotry, xenophobic violence, and discrimination for decades.
Surjit Singh Flora is a veteran journalist and freelance writer based in Brampton Canada
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