30 Oct : Throughout the United States, Gurdwaras (Sikh House of Worship), are inviting members of their communities from all faiths to join them on November 2nd (or the date which you choose) for a special service. Guests will be able to learn more about their Sikh neighbors, friends and colleagues, enjoy the experience of a Sikh religious service, and partake of Langar (a community vegetarian meal).
This program is planned to coincide with celebrations of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak was born more than 500 years ago in northern India, and preached truthful living and mutual respect. His philosophy was centered on belief in one God, who is attainable through righteous living and sharing with those less fortunate. Sikhs have unshorn hair, beards and turbans intended to make them easily recognizable. The vast majority of men wearing turbans in the United States are in fact Sikhs.
Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest religion, with a population of over 25 million worldwide, and about 500,000 in North America. Sikhs can be found in almost all countries of the world, most notably in the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia, and North America. The first Sikhs came to the United States and Canada over a hundred years ago, and were involved in the construction of railroads in the Pacific North-West. Today, Sikhs continue to make significant contributions to American society in many walks of life.
Since September 11, 2001, members of all communities have reached out to learn more about each other. In spite of this, hate crimes were directed at those perceived to be linked to the terrorists. Sikhs, with their unshorn beards and turbans, suffered a disproportionate brunt of this backlash. Even children were not left untouched by this wave of prejudice. Sikh children were victimized by being taunted and bullied by their peers in schools, causing tremendous emotional and psychological stress to the children and their parents. Therefore in an effort to educate and come together in solidarity with their fellow Americans, the Sikh community invites all those interested to be a part of this program.