Sikhs in the United States of America have raised USD 80,000 for a national campaign to tackle the growing misconceptions about their community in the country post 9/11 terror attacks, days after an elderly Sikh-American man was brutally assaulted in Chicago.
Over 300 Sikhs gathered from all around Los Angeles to increase awareness about their religion and the positive contributions the Sikh-Americans.
The National Sikh Campaign's (NSC) gala over the weekend featured Devenderpal Singh of the Indian Idol fame. The event was successful in raising USD 80,000 to support the national campaign, a media release said on Wednesday.
Just a year old, the NSC worked with US President Barrack Obama's campaign media team, AKPD, to design a national media strategy to educate Americans about the Sikh community's presence and its contribution in the US.
“NSC provides an opportunity to adopt a strategy to present our community's struggle and triumph to the American audience with courage and integrity,” said Rajwant Singh, the group’s co-founder and senior adviser.
“Sikhs need to launch a world class website and create ad campaign to bring awareness about appearance,” he added.
Singh said the turban is a symbol of human rights and justice but that it was now being seen as cause of anxiety among Americans. Turban-wearing people, Singh added, were being confused with people who stand against democracy and American values.
Surinder K Dargan, head of Los Angeles chapter of NSC, said the fund-raising gathering turned out to be the largest gathering of the Sikhs in US for a Sikh awareness campaign.
“It is thrilling that the community has come together to be proactive and launch a positive campaign to show the contribution of Sikhs in America from last 100 years,” Rajwant Singh said.
In a hate crime on September 8, an elderly Sikh-American man was brutally assaulted and left with severe facial injuries by an assailant who yelled racial slurs like "terrorist" and "Bin Laden”, just before the US' commemoration of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Inderjit Singh Mukker of Chicago was assaulted when the assailant pulled up to his car yelling racial slurs, including, “Terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden!”