Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, honourary secretary of the Khalsa College Governing Council (KCGC) and chairman of the Punjab State Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSSIEC), has appealed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to set up special cells to make the world aware about Sikhs' identity.
Chhina said this in the wake of the Oak Creek Gurdwara attack in Wisconsin (US) and several incidents in the Western world post- 9/11 in which Sikhs have fallen prey to the 'mistaken identity'.
"The Sikhs are often mistaken as Muslims and Arabs due to their turban and beard. Though investigations are on in the Wisconsin tragedy, but it appears to be an incident of hate crime,'' said Chhina.
He said the SGPC should take lead in setting up missions or cells abroad to initiate a worldwide awareness campaign. He said the SGPC should consult other Sikh representative bodies to make people aware about the Sikh philosophy of universal brotherhood and peace.
"We welcome the US government's official gestures to the tragedy and its decision to keep the national flag at half-mast. But we should take help of the media and the US administration to initiate a campaign to make people aware about Sikhism. We must tell them that the Sikhism is a religion separate from Islam."
Chhina asked the SGPC to take help from other Sikh bodies to launch this campaign. "Special counseling sessions should be held involving people from foreign communities to strengthen peaceful co-existence,'' he said.
He said the SGPC's decision to establish a mission in the US is already delayed.