By Tcodl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tcodl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

National Sikh Campaign plans to educate the U.S. about the Sikh faith and to end misguided hate crimes.

Many people in the world have either never heard of the Sikh people, or Sikhism a major world religion. 25 million people in the world identify as Sikhs, but still many simply don’t know who they are or what it is they believe.

Founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, Sikhism began in what would now be modern India and Pakistan, and has since spread across the world. There are Sikh Gurdwaras (temples) across the planet, where Sikhs can go and pray, meditate, and recite from the Guru Granth Sahib, the collected scriptures and prayers that were gathered by the Sikh Gurus themselves, a feature of Sikhism that is very rare amongst the rest of the world’s major religions, where the words of the Divine and their Prophets were collected and written down by followers or descendants.

Differentiating itself from the faiths of its ancestors, Sikhism is neither Islam nor Hindu, but a faith that is influenced by both, and at the same time, influenced by neither. Sikhs regularly wear turbans, called the “Dastar,” and indeed, this is one of the key visual signifiers that a person wearing it is a Sikh. The gurus wore turbans, and to the Sikh people, the turban represents the Divine presence, and service to the Divine, as well as rights for all people. However, throughout the history of Sikhism in the world, Sikhs have been violently persecuted, and their turbans have made them targets.

This targeting through ignorance has occurred many times unfortunately to members of the Sikh community in the United States since 9/11. There are an estimated 250,000 Sikhs living in the United States, and yet, most Americans know nothing about Sikhs or what they believe.

That is why, last weekend, over 300 Sikhs from the greater Los Angeles area met in order to support a national awareness campaign, meant to really introduce Americans to the nearly quarter of a million people living in this country who are Sikhs.

The Los Angeles chapter of the National Sikh Campaign sought to raise money in order to spread awareness and information to the American people about who Sikh people are, and what they believe, sikh24.com reported.

The meeting featured many notable and intellectual Sikh speakers, who emphasized the purpose and intention of the National Sikh Campaign.

“It is thrilling that the community has come together to be proactive and launch a positive campaign to show the contribution of Sikhs in America from the last 100 years,” said National Sikh Campaign senior adviser and co-founder, Dr. Rajwant Singh. During the meeting, detailed plans for how the campaign was to be carried out were explained, as well as entertainment from Indian Idol’s Devender Pal Singh, Sahyiba Kaur, and DJ Sukh Chugh.

All in all, the National Sikh Campaign raised $80,000 as a result of the LA chapter meeting, and the campaign has plans to continue raising money, and to continue spreading awareness about Sikhs and their positive impact in America.

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