The Surat Initiative organized a Sikh Turban movement in New York City last Sunday to make the world aware of the significance of the Sikh turban, working to dispel the fear and mystery.
Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest religion, but Sikhs feel Americans are unaware of this traditional religion. Americans generally or perhaps mistakenly equate the term “turban” to “terrorism.” The turban has become as a sign of violence and fear.
This notion has grown since the 9/11 attacks, notably days afterwards when a Sikh man was shot and killed outside his home in the Bay Area of California, a random act based on his appearance and headwear. The idea that Americans believed the turban is a sign of terrorism was reinforced even more just last year, when Sikh Americans were massacred in the gurudwara, the place of worship of Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. However the present scenario depicts irony: while Americans may believe it as sign of terrorism, Sikhs consider wearing turbans as symbol of tradition, faith, love, and justice.
In order to combat such negative consequences and to promote awareness about the correct interpretation of turbans, The Surat Initiative organized the first Turban Day at Union Square in New York City. They believe the world and Americans should be made aware of the kind symbolism of the turban. They are trying to show that the turban has a holy impact and is a sign of social justice, faith and friendliness. This community is peaceful and believes in spreading peace throughout the world rather than carrying on acts of terrorism. People from all over the region gathered to support the cause and tie turbans. More than 700 people gathered to break down stereotypes and don a turban of their own.
The Surat Initiative is hoping to spread their event across the country and is offering a free Turban Day package to do so. The next events are tomorrow, September 14 in Wisconsin, and September 29 in Washington, D.C.
Check out our coverage of the Michigan Sikh community’s efforts to honor the lives lost in the Wisconsin tragedy.