Expressing deep concern over the attack on a Sikh professor in Harlem neighbourhood near New York,Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh on Monday said US President Barack Obama should put in place stringent measures to stop such hate crimes against Sikhs.
Columbia University Professor Prabhjot Singh was attacked and injured by a mob of up to 30 people who called him Osama and terrorist during a brutal assault,which the police are investigating as a hate crime. Though (Barack) Obama has been very helpful to Sikhs,he should also ensure that stringent measures are put in place to stop incidents of hate crimes against Sikhs, Singh said. Yes,there is an identity crisis. The Sikhs should ensure that they remain saabat soorat (follow all tenets of Sikhism) and do not cut their hair, he added.
A recent study by Stanford Universitys Peace Innovation Lab and Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund had found that 48 per cent of Americans identified turbaned Sikhs as Muslims. Asked about the study,Singh said,I would direct SGPC to rope in experts and get pamphlets published on Sikh religion. These pamphlets should be distributed in strategic locations in foreign countries. These should contain all details regarding Sikh community,the articles of faith they wear and everything that could help resolve the identity crisis.
Meanwhile,a four member SGPC team will soon leave for the US to chalk out the modalities for setting up a Sikh Mission in Yuba City for spreading awareness about Sikhism. We will make all efforts to address the problem. The SGPC panel is visiting US in connection with setting up of Sikh Mission, said SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar. The Prime Minister should take up such cases with the US President,he added.