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American state of Delaware declares April ‘Sikh Awareness Month’

Several legislators sported turbans during the unanimous passage of the Sikh legislation in the Delaware House of Representatives.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2018 14:27 IST
Press Trust of India, Dover (Delaware)
Delaware,Sikh Awareness Month,Sikhism
“Since September 11, 2001, nationally, Sikhs have been subject to harassment, employment discrimination, and fatal shootings,” the resolution said.(Facebook/Representative image )

The American state of Delaware has declared April as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’ in recognition of the contribution of the Sikh community.

Throughout April, the public will be educated about what Sikhism. Delaware governor John Carney said Sikhs had earned respect and appreciation through exceptional service to the community.

“The state of Delaware seeks to further the diversity of its community and afford Delawareans the opportunity to better appreciate the rich history of Sikh-Americans,” the proclamation read.

The state assembly — House of Representatives and Senate — simultaneously passed unanimous resolutions proclaiming April as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’. The move is significant as Delaware has a small Sikh population.

“Sikhs and Indian-Americans are welcome in Delaware with open arms,” Carney told PTI after signing the proclamation. Several legislators sported turbans during passage of the legislation.

“Wearing the turban shows that we are also a part of America. Because of this resolution, for the second consecutive month, the identity and awareness about Sikhs has increased in the state,” local Sikh leader Charanjeet Singh Minhas told PTI.

Also read | ‘We Are Sikhs’ campaign wins top US public relations award

However, Minhas said, there was still a lack of awareness about Sikhism among people.

“There are still a lot of people who think that people with turbans are members of the Taliban, member of Al-Qaeda. A turban is seen as anti-American, anti-western, which is not true. This is what we are trying to correct,” he said.

Noting that the Sikh community in America continues to peacefully overcome attacks on its members, as well as attacks on Sikh identity and practices, Delaware House and Senate said the current US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was raised a Sikh and in New Jersey, Gurbir Grewall became the first Sikh Attorney General in the US.

“One way that the Delaware Sikh community promotes love, respect, and peace for all is through billboards on I-95 that celebrate holidays such as Diwali, Thanksgiving, Guru Nanak’s birthday, and Christmas,” the resolution read.

“Observance of this month raises awareness about contributions of Sikhs to the economy and the wider community in Delaware,” it read.

The resolution said Delaware stood with the Sikh community in denouncing hate crimes directed towards any individual on account of their religious beliefs.

“Since September 11, 2001, nationally, Sikhs have been subject to harassment, employment discrimination, and fatal shootings,” the resolution said.

Carney, a Democrat leader, said that a general anti-immigrant sentiment prevailed in the country is “personally embarrassing to me.”

Delaware Senator Bryan Townsend, one of the key sponsors of the resolution, said Sikh-Americans play a very important role in the economic development of the state.

First Published: Mar 28, 2018 14:07 IST