Despite this setback, UNITED SIKHS will continue to advocate on behalf of Sikhs all over the world for President Obama to recognize our community. His trip to Pakistan next year is poignant because the thrust of his message and visit will be to energize the global community to recognize and continue helping the country recover from the devastating floods. Please click here to read about UNITED SIKHS’ continuing efforts with Pakistan flood relief help.
Avtar Singh Makkar, President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Paramjit Singh Sarna, President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), told UNITED SIKHS that they hoped the President would visit a Indian Sikh gurdwara in the future to recognize the unique Sikh faith, its diversity and its contribution to the west.
Moreover, there are many significant Gurdwaras in Pakistan. One of these is Nankana Sahib (birthplace of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak). There is also Panja Sahib, where UNITED SIKHS is currently undertaking Humanitarian Disaster Relief work in assistance of displaced Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh victims of the floods.
President Obama has already recognized UNITED SIKHS for our work in Haiti. (Please watch Obama's endorsement here.) A visit to Pakistan would be an ideal opportunity to recognize the humanitarian work of Sikhs in serving all communities and amplifying our voices to help us continue our mandate of protecting others. Whatever the reasons for President Obama for not visiting Harmandar Sahib, we urge him not to spurn the Sikh community again during his trip to Pakistan in 2011.
The Pakistan trip presents another opportunity for President Obama to not only recognize a religious minority that has suffered the double injustice of unprecedented natural disasters but the constant threat of the Taliban and the choice between forced conversions and death. For example, Afghani Sikh, Jaspal Singh, was brutally beheaded by the Taliban, earlier this year.
UNITED SIKHS director, Kuldip Singh, says: "President Obama's visit to Harmandar Sahib would have brought a message of peace and harmony to all multifaith communities when the world needs it the most".
As UNITED SIKHS and our colleagues, Sikh Coalition and SALDEF have done, please start the campaign NOW to implore President Obama to visit a Sikh Gurdwara in Pakistan, through letter writing, Twitter and Facebook messages.
We MUST amplify our voices first before we can expect President Obama to give voice to our community. Raise the visibility of religious minorities by writing and expressing, in a respectful manner, how important it is for President Obama to visit Harmandar Sahib, via email or through the White House's Twitter and Facebook pages (you must sign up for Twitter and click to 'like' the White House page on Facebook, before posting on the wall) sites.
Or write a letter to the President at this address:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Use your correct mailing address if you hope to get a response and use the appropriate postage. LET'S MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD!
Note to editors:
Since Sept. 11, 2001, Sikhs have been targets of discrimination and violence due to mistaken identity. UNITED SIKHS has vigorously campaigned for Sikh and other minority communities' rights, who have faced a sharp increase in hate/bias-related crimes and incidents after 9/11.
Please read about our work tackling hate crime and raising human rights awareness.
PR and Media Associate