The US is grateful to Sikh-Americans for enriching the country with their values, President Barack Obama has said in a message ahead of Guru Nanak's birth anniversary. Obama greeted the Sikh community saying the anniversary is an occasion to reflect on the holy guru's "timeless teachings".
"Here in the United States, we're grateful to the many Sikh-Americans who give life to these values and enrich our country every day, reminding us that these shared principles are not only at the heart of the Sikh faith, they are central to who we are as Americans," he said.
"I want to extend my best wishes to all our Sikh friends, across the United States and around the world, who this weekend are observing the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru."
Obama said in a statement issued on Friday that the birth anniversary was "an occasion to reflect on Guru Nanak's timeless teachings and the principles that are at the heart of Sikhism, including the equality of all human beings, the pluralism we cherish in diverse societies and the compassion we owe one another".
The Sikh community in the US welcomed Obama's greetings. "We truly appreciate President Obama's gesture to greet us on this auspicious anniversary. He and his administration have shown particular respect for Sikhs and their religious observances," said Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.
Obama had highlighted the convergence of Guru Nanak's teachings and the founding principles of Sikhism, he said.
"Equality, pluralism and compassion are the central core of Guru Nanak's vision for the world and we have seen with keen interest how the President has tried to implement these principles during his governance in the last five years," Singh said.