A major report to be released today in Washington, D.C. highlights the rising number of incidents of hate, violence, and bias against Sikhs worldwide.
The Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Report – to be issued at a briefing held by UNITED SIKHS at 441 Cannon House Office Building at 4 p.m. today – outlines continuing acts of hate and prejudice against Sikhs. These incidents include: the August 2012 massacre of Sikhs by a white supremacist at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the hate-motivated attack on an 80-year-old Sikh outside a Sikh temple in California; and the shooting of a Sikh in Port Orange, Florida while he was driving a car with his 13-year-old son.
“The greatest danger facing humanity is religious-fuelled nationalism, the cloak of sanctity over the politics of hate,” says distinguished scholar and retired judge Sir Mota Singh. “We must appreciate all faiths, recognize that they offer rich spiritual experiences, and encourage their followers to a nobler way of life.”
Compiled from research, field observations, surveys, and input on Sikh issues from local residents and lawyers in countries around the world, as well as reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the report also details the hate-motivated assault on a Sikh professor at Columbia University; the non-acceptance of devout Sikhs in the U.S. armed forces and ROTC; and discriminatory treatment of Sikhs by employers.
The report notes incidents of hate and bias against Sikhs in more than two dozen countries, as well as advances in Sikhs’ rights made during the past year. Advances include an amendment to a law in Queensland, Australia to exempt turbaned Sikh bike riders from wearing helmets and 40 Sikh students’ successful defense of their right to wear turbans at a Catholic school in Baramullah, Kashmir.
Despite these gains, the report points out “the slippery slopes Sikhs are travelling on in countries like Belgium and France,” says Mejindarpal Kaur, International Legal Director, UNITED SIKHS. “In thousands of Belgian Flemish GO schools, the Sikh turban will be banned … and France has announced the possibility of extending the turban ban to universities. Sikh civil and human rights organizations are facing an increasing demand to advocate for religious freedom of Sikhs.”
For information, visit www.unitedsikhs.org/.