Friday, August 31, 2012

Sikh creates history, offers prayers at US Republican Convention


Tampa (Florida): A Sikh priest has scripted history by offering invocation at the Republican National Convention, where he was invited by the party as part of its “healing touch” effort towards the community shocked by the Wisconsin gurdwara massacre.

Ishwar Singh, the head priest of the Sikh Society of Central Florida, offered invocation and brief opening remarks at the start of the convention’s second days’ proceedings here yesterday, immediately after America’s national anthem. “It was a great day for me and the Sikh community,” Singh told PTI after creating history.

This is the first time in the history of Republican national conventions that a Sikh went to the stage to offer invocation.

“It is a great honour for me to be here today as a Sikh and as an American. I am proud that my country cherishes the values of freedom, equality and dignity,” Singh, sporting a white pagri, said in his remarks in front of thousands of Republicans who had gathered from all across the country to nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate.

Singh was invited for the invocation by the Republican party as part of its “healing touch” effort towards the Sikh community which was shocked and shattered by the killing of six worshippers in a gurdwara in Wisconsin on 5 August.

with thanks : Firstpost : LINK : for detailed news.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NSS UNIT,SGND Khalsa College,University of Delhi

National Service Scheme Unit,Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa Colleg(Dev Nagar,University of Delhi)along with Prncipal Dr.Man Mohan Kaur and NSS Programme Officers:Dr Gurdeep Kaur and Dr.Bhagwant Kour

Sikh temple shooter's death ruled a suicide

The man who killed six Sikh worshippers at a Wisconsin temple before fatally shooting himself had a history of alcohol problems and underwent a noticeable personality change in the preceding year, according to an investigative report released Tuesday.

Wade Michael Page's sister told investigators he had a bloated appearance that made her wonder if he had been drinking recently, the report said. Kimberly Van Buskirk also said she noticed her brother become more intense over the past year, as if he had lost his wit and sense of humor. He took everything literally, she said.

Page, 40, opened fire Aug. 5 before a service was to start at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee. He killed six people and wounded four others before he was shot in the abdomen during a firefight with police. He died after he shot himself in the head. 

The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office, which released the investigative report, officially ruled his death a suicide.

Page's sister told authorities her brother didn't use drugs but had a history of alcohol problems. She did not immediately return a phone message left Tuesday by The Associated Press.

Online court records show Page had a history of drunken driving and a 1994 arrest in Texas after Page got drunk and kicked holes in the wall of a bar.
Toxicology reports, which would show whether he had drugs or alcohol in his system during the shooting spree, are still pending.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards, whose officers responded to the shooting, said it would be an "excuse" to blame alcohol for what Page did. Many people drink alcohol, but they don't commit murder, he said.

"He has those thoughts, and they're there. The alcohol didn't cause that," Edwards said. "So whether he had that or not, I don't think that's the cause or the root of it."

The FBI and local authorities are still trying to piece together Page's motive in the attack. He had ties to white supremacy groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center civil rights group, and had recently broken up with his girlfriend.

In the days after the shooting, there was speculation that Page targeted Sikhs because he mistook them for Muslims because of their beards and turbans. Edwards said Tuesday he didn't think Page was targeting Sikhs or Muslims, but he declined to explain why, citing the ongoing investigation.

"There's been no specific group he was after or disliked more than the other," Edwards said. "It was a group that was different from him. ... It's a person with hate."

Edwards joined Oak Creek's mayor and fire chief at a lunch meeting where they discussed the emergency response to the shooting rampage. Edwards said there was initial confusion because of language difficulties - dispatchers thought the Sikhs were reporting "fighting" when they were actually saying "firing," in reference to gunfire.

One temple member asked why police took more than 12 hours to release the victims' identities, while their relatives agonized in uncertainty. Edwards said police had limited options.

with thanks : sacbee : LINK : for detailed news.

Read more here:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Sikh killed in USA

A 43-year-old clean-shaven Sikh was allegedly murdered by unidentified persons at Fresno in California, USA, on Thursday. The miscreants allegedly killed Kashmir Singh in a bid to loot a convenience store, where he worked as a cashier. He hailed from Patran town of Patiala district and had migrated to California in 1995.

As the news reached his hometown, a pal of gloom descended on the residence of his brother-in-law Harcharan Singh.

"Earlier, he worked as a truck driver. However, he changed his profession after recession and started working as cashier at a convenience store," said Harcharan Singh.
He said the assailants had allegedly thrashed Kashmir with iron rods, which proved fatal.

"He was a peace-loving person. He even helped his brothers and a sister to migrate to the USA. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter," he added.

with thanks : Hindustan Times : LINK : for detailed news.

Sonia concerned over security of Sikhs abroad: Cong MLA

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is concerned over the security of Sikhs in the US and has advised the Prime minister and External Affairs Ministry to take up the matter with the country's administration, Congress MLA from Patiala (Rural) Brahm Mohindra said. 

Speaking at the bhog ceremony (rituals) of Subegh Singh, one of the six victims of the Oak Creek Gurudwara shooting in the US, at Rattangarh village here, Mohindra said the UPA government has asked the Obama administration to ensure security of Sikhs. 

Six Sikh worshippers, including four Indian nationals, were killed when a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage inside the Gurudwara on August 5. 

with thanks : Business standard : LINK

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Navdeep Singh: Sikh's experience gives new meaning to 'white supremacy'

Believers in white supremacy are basically ignorant and misguided on the values and beauty of humanity and coexistence. In the wake of the tragic shootings in the Milwaukee-area Sikh temple and subsequent events, I offer a different perspective of "white supremacy."

I am an ordinary Sikh living in Waunakee. The aftermath of the shootings has actually revealed what true white supremacy is. The white members of my community have cut across their faith allegiances and embraced the grief of the Sikh community.

In every possible way they lent their shoulders, their hands, their souls — everything to apply healing balm to the Sikhs. This includes not only the institutions such as Dane County government, the police, the churches and the press, but individuals, too — everybody contributing in their own way. They proved that the effects of sorrow and grief are diminished if shared.

We as a Sikh community are indebted to them for their acts of kindness, humility, tender care and serving. This is what supremacy is and should be.

For those ignorant believers, here's a word of advice which I am sure will fall on deaf ears: Bravery is not about holding the gun but facing it. God bless.

— Navdeep Singh, Waunakew

with thanks : madison : LINK


Saturday, August 25, 2012

How Hate Gets Counted


The horrific shooting at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee on Aug. 5, in which a white supremacist, Wade M. Page, killed six people before fatally shooting himself, elicited an outpouring of sympathy from American leaders and a greater understanding of the role Sikhs have played in American life. 

But there are two disturbing aspects of the response to the shooting that deserve wider public attention. 

First is the notion of “mistaken identity” — the assumption that Mr. Page, who had long-established ties to radical right-wing groups, mistook Sikhs for Muslims, his presumed target. The second is the government’s failure to accurately measure the extent of anti-Sikh violence in America — a gap that must be remedied. 

Whatever the roots of Mr. Page’s hatred, it is wrong to assume that every attack against a Sikh is really meant for a Muslim. That assumption overlooks the long history of discrimination and hatred directed at Sikhs in America. 

Indeed, the first documented race riot targeting American Sikhs occurred in 1907 in Bellingham, Wash. Their distinct religious identity (uncut hair, turban, beard) has historically marked Sikhs, particularly men, as targets for discrimination, both in their homeland in South Asia and in the various communities of the Sikh diaspora. And of course, 9/11 brought about a surge in fear and persecution directed at Sikhs, Muslims and other minorities with ties to the Middle East and South Asia. 

There is also the question of whether white supremacist groups have specifically targeted American Sikhs. The authorities in Southern California, where Mr. Page was active in the white-power music scene, are investigating whether he was involved in the killings of two elderly Sikh men in Elk Grove, Calif., in March 2011. Just after the temple shooting, a Sikh man in Oak Creek, Wis., reported that a white man had pulled up next to him in a pickup truck, shaped his hands like a gun, and pretended to shoot him six times before stating, “We want to kill all of you.” 

And on Aug. 15, 10 days after the Oak Creek shooting, another member of the Sikh community there, Dalbir Singh, 56,  was killed in the armed robbery of a local convenience store. (While the police have not uncovered any evidence to treat the killing as a hate crime, many Sikhs have wondered if the violence was more than random.) 

White supremacist Web sites clearly demonstrate intentional, targeted anti-Sikh sentiments. For example, the leading neo-Nazi figure Alex Linder was quoted as saying on a right-wing Web site: “Take your dead and go back to India and dump their ashes in the Ganges, Sikhs. You don’t belong here in the country my ancestors fought to found, and deeded to me and mine, their posterity. Even if you came here legally, and even if you haven’t done anything wrong personally. Go home, Sikhs. Go home to India where you belong. This is not your country, it belongs to white men.” 

The “mistaken identity” assumption is directly associated with a second problem: a lack of data about the extent of anti-Sikh hatred. 

The F.B.I. currently classifies nearly all hate violence against American Sikhs as instances of anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim hate crimes. As a result, we do not have official statistics on the extent of hate crimes in which Sikhs are targeted, despite a long history of such violence. 

with thanks : nytimes : LINK : for detailed news.

Michelle reaches out to Sikhs, meets gurdwara victims' kin

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lt. Brian Murphy, heroic Brooklyn-born cop who was shot nine times while trying to stop Wisconsin Sikh temple massacre, released from hospital

 Lt. Brian Murphy, age 51.

The heroic Brooklyn-born cop who was shot nine times while trying to stop the Wisconsin Sikh temple massacre is out of the hospital.

Lt. Brian Murphy, a 21-year veteran of the Oak Creek, Wisc., police department, was released Wednesday, capping a miraculous recovery following the Aug. 5 tragedy that saw six worshipers killed.

The tough-as-nails officer was originally in critical condition after being struck in the neck by Michael Wade Page, a neo-Nazi.

His daughter, Erika, who lives in South Korea, took to Twitter to express her pride and relief.

“finally able to talk to my dad for the first time since the shooting,” the daughter posted Thursday. “he’s doing well and he sounds like batman. more proof he’s a superhero.”

Murphy, who moved to the Milwaukee area to be closer to his wife’s family, was the first to respond to reports of shots fired at the temple. Seconds after climbing out his cruiser, he was hit by a spray of bullets.


Despite being badly wounded, he waved off officers running to his rescue and directed them to tend to the injured worshippers.

His fellow Oak Creek police officers said that Murphy maintained his distinct New York accent. Murphy’s brother Terry just retired from the NYPD Intelligence Division.

with thanks : nydailynews : LINK for detailed news.



UNITED SIKHS has launched a 'I Pledge Against Hate Crime' campaign to combat that odium of violence that Sikh community is facing since 9/11. People of all faith and no faith across the globe to organise and participate in Inter-faith vigils within their respective communities to remember and pray for the individuals and communities affected by the recent tragic events at the Sikh Gurudwara at Wisconsin on 5th August, 2012. Hate Crime is a serious issue that impact us all and we must all join to beat it. CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL for remembering WISCONSIN HATE CRIME VICTIMS Date: Sunday, August 26, 2012 Time: 5 pm to 7 pm (IST) Venue: Jantar Mantar, New Delhi (INDIA)

Maria Cantwell calls for DOJ to track hate crimes against Sikh Americans

 Maria Cantwell

Sen. Maria Cantwell has joined with 18 other U.S. senators urging the Department of Justice to track hate crimes against Sikh Americans.

Cantwell said she signed on to the bipartisan letter Thursday. Earlier in August, white supremacist Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

"Until we have a more comprehensive understanding of the number and type of hate crimes committed against Sikhs, our law enforcement agencies will not be able to allocate the appropriate level of personnel and other resources to prevent and respond to these crimes," the letter said. "Moreover, the collection of this information will likely encourage members of the Sikh community to report hate crimes to law enforcement officials."

The Sikh Coalition had been asking for federal law enforcement to track hate crimes against Sikh Americans. The Justice Department tracks crimes committed against Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and atheists, but lumps Sikhs in with "other religions."

This is a good first step, and an important show of support for the Sikh American community from our leadership in Washington, D.C. I said in a Tuesday column that the silence after the Sikh shooting was deafening, especially in light of the scrutiny around the shootings in Aurora, Colo. First lady Michelle Obama is also meeting with families of the victims.

with thanks :  seattletimes : LINK for detailed news.

Michelle Obama Visting Sikh Shooting Victims' Families

Michelle Obama Sikh Shooting
OAK CREEK, Wis. — Mandeep Singh Khattra and his family received Michelle Obama with an embrace Thursday as the first lady consoled relatives of worshippers gunned down earlier this month at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee.
"She gave us a hug and said, `I'm sorry for what happened,'" said Khattra, 26, whose grandfather, Suveg Singh Khattra, was one of six people killed Aug. 5. "She asked what kind of person he was, and my dad told her he was always good-natured, always at the temple."

Obama spent nearly 90 minutes visiting with the Khattras and other families of Sikh worshippers who were killed or injured in the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. She expressed her sympathies, offered support and listened to many stories about victims.

Relatives of the victims said afterward that Obama asked informed questions that showed she had read up on the plight of those killed and injured.

She especially seemed to know the story of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the temple president who tried to stab the gunman with a butter knife in an effort to stall him so women and children in the temple would have time to hide.

"The thing she kept repeating was, `Your father was a true hero,'" said Amardeep Kaleka.

The visits with worshippers were private, and she took no questions during a public appearance with the Oak Creek mayor and a temple official at a nearby high school. She offered sympathies to them in hushed tones, then went into a classroom for private visits with each of the families.

Six Sikhs were killed and three others injured when a gunman with ties to a white supremacist group strode opened fire at the temple. The gunman also shot Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy nine times at close range before killing himself.

Murphy was released from the hospital Wednesday. As a sign of their deep gratitude, temple members gave his family a $10,000 check along with a large banner signed by well-wishers, said Inderjeet Singh Dhillon, a temple official.

with thanks : Huffington Post : LINK for detailed news.

Sikh man beaten up in US, arrested for keeping Kirpan

Washington: An elderly Sikh man, in his early 70s, was allegedly beaten up by his neighbour in New Jersey following an altercation and was later arrested by the police because of keeping 'Kirpan', a Sikh article of faith.

The incident happened on July 26, nearly 10 days before the shooting at Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin, United Sikhs, a Sikh advocacy group said yesterday.

Giving details of the incident, the group said that Avtar Singh, a gas station owner and one of the founding members of Glen Rock Gurdwara in New Jersey, went to his neighbouring shop owned by Edward Koscovski to request him to move his truck that was parked and blocking the entrance of his gas station.
The request turned into an altercation in which Avtar Singh was brutally assaulted, it said.

"I kept on yelling that please let me go but nothing moved Edward from hitting me. When I turned around using all my strength, Edward smashed my face, broke my teeth and kept punching me in the stomach. He grabbed my Kirpan and threw it at his attendant."

"The attendant removed the Kirpan from the mian (cover) and hid the mian (cover) in a room inside. He also snatched my phone and put it out of sight," Avtar Singh said.

Upon arrival at the scene, the police arrested the 72-year-old Avtar Singh and charged him with possession of a weapon (Kirpan), United Sikhs said.
with thanks : NDTV : LINK for detailed news.

Confronting religion: Sikh prohibited from carrying kirpans at airport

By Riaz Ahmad
Published: August 24, 2012
" In my 30 years of service, carrying a kirpan has always been strictly prohibited," ASF official Mian Safdar. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

PESHAWAR: Sikhs have been prohibited from entering the Peshawar airport while carrying their religious symbol kirpan (a small dagger).

The kirpan is one of the five kakar that are considered a religious necessity for all practising Khalisa Sikhs. Carrying a kirpan, kara (iron bracelet), kanga (Comb), kachera (underwear) and kesh (hair) is considered an essential part of their faith.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Sahib Singh, a representative of the Sikh community and a former member of the district assembly, said that the people of his community had not been allowed to enter the Bacha Khan International Airport with a kirpan.

“If you abandon any one of the five kakar, it means that you are not a member of the Khalisa religion formed by Guru Goband Singh,” explained Dr Singh. He said that people in Punjab understand this rule and do not face any problems at the Lahore airport, where thousands of yatris from across the world are received every year.

Dr Singh further said that as per the 1971 constitution, the Sikh community had been allowed to carry a kirpan of up to three feet.  However, Sikhs in Peshawar and other parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa carry only small kirpans, of three to six inches in length. “The constitution of this country gives us the right to carry our religious symbol and there is no evidence that we have harmed anyone with it. It is just a symbol of bravery as our Guru also carried a kirpan with him.”

Another member of the community, Ajeet Singh, said that Sikhs cannot just abandon their religion over security measures. He said that they too are citizens of Pakistan and it is the duty of the provincial government to solve the problem.

A representative of the Hindu community, Haroon Sarb Dyal, told The Express Tribune that a number of meetings with government officials had been held but no progress has been made on the issue. Dyal said that the constitution of Pakistan gives minorities the right to live in accordance with their religious teachings and that the government should resolve the problem.

Civil Aviation Authority Public Relations Officer Pervez George said that even personnel of law enforcement agencies are not allowed to bring arms or anything that poses threat inside the airport.

Mian Safdar, assistant director of the Airport Security Force at the Bacha Khan International Airport said that carrying a kirpan in hand luggage is banned all over the country.“In my 30 years of service, carrying a kirpan has always been strictly prohibited.”  He added, however, that kirpans are allowed in
luggage that is checked in.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2012. LINK

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More join Shiromani Akali Dal ( Delhi )

Ajay Devgn’s ‘Son of Sardaar’ offends Sikhs!

 Ajay Devgn’s 'Son of Sardar' offends Sikhs!

The film runs into legal trouble for portraying Sikhs in poor light

A Chandigarh-based lawyer has served a legal notice against the makers of Son of Sardaar. The film starring Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha and Sanjay Dutt has run into trouble for its objectionable content.

On hearing this news we reviewed the promo of the film and thought that though the trailer looked slick and funny, certain phrases were used bluntly. Sample this:

Agar duniya mein Ssardar nahi hote toh kya hota? (What would have happened to the world without Sardars?) Sardar na hote to joke kispe banate? (If Sardars did not exist, what would jokes be made about?) Haramzyada isme pyar hain zyada, teri ma di, teri pen di yeh duniya ko humne sikhayi (We Sardars taught the world these abuses).

After hearing this kind of thing in the two-minute-long promo of the film we wonder, how many more such lines will there be in the film itself? In a desperate attempt to glorify the Sikh community and to poke some fun at Sardars, the dialogue/script writer of this movie has gone overboard. While stereotyping is pretty common in Bollywood films, where people are often clubbed under one common umbrella and jokes are cracked about them, it should be take taken into consideration that the filmmakers should not cross limits and hurt sentiments, religious, ethnic or otherwise.

Clearly in this case Ajay Devgn, who is the producer of the film (he’s also the lead actor and the voice behind the questionable promo), can’t run away from his responsibility of cross checking content.

We also hear that Devgn has been given seven days to respond to the notice and make the necessary alterations in the dialogue, post which legal action will be taken against Devgn and people involved in the execution of this film.

with thanks : bollywoodlife : LINK

Standing ovation, deafening cheers for Sikh community at Milwaukee rally

Oak Creek shooting :

MILWAUKEE- A huge show of support Monday night on Milwaukee's south side for the Sikh community, more than two weeks after the temple massacre.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Annie Scholz reports that a standing ovation and deafening cheers were heard as members of the Sikh temple arrived at a community event in their honor.

"It's pretty amazing," said Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, whose uncle was killed in the August 5 massacre.

People of all backgrounds, races, and religions packed the Faith Builders International Ministries on the south side to listen to speakers and performers, including singer Danny Gokey.

"Yeah, it's very impressive," said supporter Matt Knilans.

But the message from each and every person in the room, was the same.

"We are all human, their God is one," said Oak Creek Sikh temple secretary Inderjeet Singh Dhillon.  "There's only just a different name."

"No matter what the race, no matter what the religion, we're all here together on this earth, and we need to support each other," said Jean Whitstone.

And even though it's been two weeks since the massacre, the hope is that the support won't stop anytime soon.
"The local community has shown a tremendous amount of love.  We just hope that it grows from here.  This is a starting point for growth all over the world," said Kaleka.

Reverend Jesse Jackson was supposed to attend, but had a scheduling conflict.

Members of the Sikh community said they were grateful for everyone who made it out Monday night.

with thanks : todaystmj4 : LINK

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gurmat Samagam : Delhiites must attend !

Sikhs need to clarify identity confusion

In the aftermath of the Sikh Gurdwara of Wisconsin massacre, major media outlets have done a fine job of explaining who Sikhs are, where and when their religion was born and what their five symbols mean.
This attempt has gone over well with the community in the U.S. Even here in Toronto at the August 11 candlelight vigil at Nathan Phillips Square, Sikh leaders could be heard showering praise on some in the media.
But since the media were telling people, some more subtly than others, that Sikhs are not Muslims, they were entering a sensitive territory where they could be seen to be sending a sinister message against the Muslims.
Where the media have failed, is in telling what is at the root of the problem and why Sikhs have been confused with Muslims since 9/11.
The root cause is the turban or headgear. In Islam, only mosque-bound preachers or mullahs or radical leaders wear the turban or headgear. Osama bin Laden wore one. American-born al-Qaida preacher Anwar al-Awlaki wore one. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama’s successor, wears one. Taliban leader Mullah Omar wears one. Ayatollah Khomeini, too, wore one.
The common Muslim man never wears a turban in daily life. But every common Sikh with uncut hair always wears the turban.
What goes through the mind of a racist such as Wisconsin gunman Wade Michael Page when he sees people with turbans?
He thinks: “Hey, these guys look like Osama bin Laden in their turbans, so they must be his people and thus targeted.”

with thanks : Torontosun : LINK : for detailed news story. MUST READ.

US has much to learn from Sikhs: Harvard professor Diana Eck

NEW YORK: As the Sikh community in the US makes efforts to recover from the tragedy of the Gurudwara shooting, a Harvard professor has said Sikhs have emerged as a role model for Americans who can learn from the dignity and generosity the community.

"Most Americans still know little of the Sikh Americans whose history in the United States, dating to the early 20th century, is now firmly part of our common history."

"While we catch up on our basic education, however, it is important to know that Sikhs share three distinctly and deeply American values -- the importance of hard work, a commitment to human equality, and the practice of neighbourly hospitality," Harvard University professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies Diana Eck said in an editorial in the Dallas Morning News.

Eck said if the gunman Michael Wade Page had been simply a neighbour or a local visitor, he would have been warmly welcomed by the community and served food in the gurudwara.

The assailant would have "discovered a religious community so confident and expansive in its hospitality that it would embrace a complete stranger".

In the face of immense tragedy after the shooting, Sikhs still offered the food they had prepared to the hundreds of emergency workers, police officers and staff who surrounded the temple.

"The dignity and generosity of the Sikh community in the wake of this violence remind us just how much we have to learn from these neighbors," Eck added.

Eck said no other religious community demonstrates the meaning of hospitality as abundantly as the Sikhs, noting that the huge, "industrial-size kitchens" in gurudwaras prepare food for community members and strangers alike.

"This hospitality is not just a gesture; it is foundational to the Sikh faith. Eating together is what knits the Sikh community together and breaks down the barriers that divide the wider human community," Eck said adding that eating together symboliSes a Sikh's personal rejection of discrimination and prejudice. 

with thanks : ECONOMIC TIMES : LINK : for detailed news.

Teen arrested for killing Sikh in Wisconsin

Washington: A 16-year-old high school student has been arrested on charges of killing an elderly Sikh in Milwaukee, where only days back a shootout at a Gurdwara had left six worshippers dead.

Identified as Deangelo Williams, the suspect has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide-party to a crime and possession of a firearm by a felon.

If convicted he could be sentenced up to 70 years in prison.

A high school student, Williams made a court appearance late Friday afternoon. The judge set bail at USD 250,000.

The suspect is scheduled to be back in the court on Monday, a local television station reported. 

The deceased Dalbir Singh, 56, assisted his nephew Jatinder Singh in running a grocery store in the city. 

The incident happened on Wednesday night when some unidentified men entered the shop and put a gun to Jatinder Singh head.

with thanks : ZEE NEWS : LINK : for detailed news.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sikhs in America : Vid

Watch Sikhs in America on PBS. See more from ViewFinder.

Torlakson Encourages Schools to Teach About Sikhs

Valley school districts will be encouraging teachers to present materials on Sikhs as part of their studies of other cultures.
The Legislature designated November as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month. State Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson notified districts about the opportunity to assemble materials that would assist in teaching about Sikh culture.

Torlakson’s letter was dated Aug. 3, two days before a gunman killed six people and wounded three at a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb.
Pleasanton school superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said, “It was ironic that we received the letter on Friday. Then this (Milwaukee attack) happened on Sunday.”
Although the timing of Tolakson’s letter and the Legislature’s declaration designating Sikh Awareness Month show they were not responses to the Milwaukee attack, concern about rude treatment of Sikhs were the motivators for Torlakson and the Legislature.
Torlakson’s letter said that members of Sikh communities in the Central Valley have testified to the state board of education, “Sikhs have been targets of hate crimes. Young Sikhs have been subjected to bullying, because of the different styles of clothing that they wear.”

with thanks : independentnews : LINK : for detailed news.

Sikhs seek equality and peace in spite of murders

The senseless murders of six Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wis., on Sunday, Aug. 5, again shocked the country so soon after the Aurora, Colo. massacre in the movie theatre. It also exposed the Sikh religion to the general public.
When I lived on Magnolia Avenue in Jersey City, a Sikh family moved on the block and their son played with some of the children nearby. He had never cut his hair since birth and twisted it in the shape of a bun on his head, which was the subject of much discussion and curiosity.
He was a very polite boy and I remember him recounting how he was taunted in public school because of his hair. Today there are many Sikhs living in Jersey City, which also boasts the only gurudwara, or house of worship on Broadway and Corbin Avenue, in all Hudson County.
Two days after the murders, I felt moved to visit and found 50 men, women and children gathered for their daily evening prayers. As I walked in the door, two members came from inside, greeted me and welcomed me warmly to come inside. I took off my shoes and covered my head with an orange kerchief.
I sat on the floor with the rest just as someone was coming around spooning a sweet, brown sticky food called karah parsad, which is a mixture of wheat, honey and butter, into every person’s cupped hands. I immediately thought of Communion in the Catholic Church. Their ritual symbolizes equality, which is a hallmark of Sikhism. And it was also evident by the communal spirit shared not only in the worship but the common meal served afterward.
But before the meal, some 30 of the worshipers gathered around me and allowed me to engage them in a group discussion for about one hour. They had planned to discuss a possible candlelight service in Jersey City to remember the murdered Sikhs but deferred to my presence.
I had never met any of these people but their gentleness and peacefulness overwhelmed me. The large number participating made it difficult to track who said what made even more complicated by the fact that all the men use the same last name, Singh, and the women, Kaur.
How difficult, I thought, to distinguish one from the other! Their reply was that this practice developed in response to the caste system prevalent in India, where Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak - who lived from 1469 to 1539 - in the state of Punjab in northern India. Again stressing equality, Sikhs rejected the caste system and also incurred the wrath of the majority Hindus. For this and other reasons, Sikhs have experienced persecution in India.
Yet, many of those present immigrated to the U.S. for a better life, just like historic immigrant groups.
Among the members there were Talwinder Singh, 27, of Jersey City, a systems engineer, and his older brother, Sukhwinder Singh, 37, who owns an I.T.firm, and is also the president of the U.S. Sikh Chamber of Commerce, which he founded. Inderjit Singh is the son of the gurudwara’s president and a U.S. Navy engineer. His family also owns their own trucking company.
While Inderjit wore a turban, Talwinder and Sukhwinder did not and wore the same kerchief I did. Swinder Pal Singh, 46, explained that some Sikhs grow into this practice and there seemed no prejudice toward those who did not wear a turban and cut their hair.
with thanks : NJ : LINK : for detailed news. Must view.

Milford’s Sikh community reacts to Wis. shootings

Malkit Singh Gill is president of the Milford Gurdwara Sahib, run by the New England Sikh Study Circle. While the organization was founded in 1968, the group did not buy its own temple until 1990, when it bought the current building in Milford.

Gill, a 52-year-old business owner with a background in electrical engineering and computer programming, said the temple draws members from across Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The Milford gurdwara, one of just four Sikh temples in Massachusetts, offers weekly services Friday nights and Sunday mornings in Punjabi, with English translation available, plus classes in Punjabi and Sikh theology. The state’s other Sikh temples are in Millis, Everett, and Somerville.
The Milford congregation has grown so large, with 200 to 300 families attending weekly services and upward of 600 at special events, that the organization is planning to move the temple to a 37-acre campus recently purchased in Westborough within two years, Gill said. The New England Sikh Study Circle broke ground on the new facility on July 29, a week before a gunman walked into a temple in Wisconsin and killed six people.
After the shootings, Gill answered a series of questions from the Globe about his faith and the local Sikh community.
Q: What has the local community’s reaction been to the shooting in Wisconsin?
Gill: Shock. Disbelief. Support and solidarity.
The whole local American and Sikh American community was shocked to know that innocent devotees in a place of worship have been gunned down.
It being a heinous crime against humanity, it is unimaginable that any place of worship, where people go to attain peace and tranquility, can be attacked.
Q: How have you discussed the shootings with your congregation?
Gill: With the sincerest sense of sharing their grief as equal partners in grief, and ensuring them our full support in the days ahead.
As an expression of sense of loss, the community gathered for prayers and candle vigil. This allowed us to share the grief and pray together for the victims and their families. After the vigil, people talked about their feelings and how to help the victims and their family.
We had tremendous support from the entire community and people from all the faiths; the candlelight vigil was joined by the interfaith community.
Q: What are the lessons and tenets of the Sikhism that you would like the greater public to know?
Gill: Sikhism is the youngest “Way of Life,” started by its first guru, Guru Nanak Sahib (born in the year 1469). As its tenets it advocates as follows:
Belief in one creator, who resides within His creation.
Belief that all of us humans (irrespective of our color, creed, religion, belief system, national origin, gender, or anything else) are children of one common creator; hence, all of us (men as well as women) are equal in every respect. All of us are members of one human family. And all of us are brothers and sisters in humanity. Therefore, any form of division amongst us, based on color, creed, caste, or any other criteria, is man-made and not God-made.
Furthermore, such an understanding flows from a daily practice of the following pillars of the Sikh faith: Earning one’s livelihood through honest and truthful means; sharing it with others, including our sufferings and happiness; always staying focused on truth that emanates from the remembrance of the Creator.
To develop such a discipline and understanding of this unique Sikh way of life, a Sikh, as a start, is advised to keep his/her hair intact, clean and tidy by wearing a turban.
Furthermore, Sikhism is neither an offshoot of Hinduism nor of Islam, but is a full-fledged religion of its own with its own guiding scripture, Guru Granth Sahib; its own unique writing script, the Gurmukhi alphabet; its own fundamental doctrines; its own code of conduct; own Sikh flag; own Sikh culture, history, and proud Sikh heritage.
Q: Do you or your congregation face discrimination as a result of your faith? Could you give some examples?
Gill: Lot of Sikhs have been discriminated as a result of how they look, especially in their place of work due to their beard and turban.
There are more than 1,000 cases filed by the Sikh Coalition in the USA courts.
Sikhs feel discriminated at the airport. Their bags are searched most of the time and are singled out. I have personally been through this lot of times.
Q: What sort of reaction have you had from other faith communities, such as the Muslim community, that they have faced episodes of discrimination in the past?
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