US Sikhs Express Joy at President Obama's Visit to the Golden Temple

Washington, DC, September 15, 2010:  Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of Sikh Council on Religion and Education, has expressed joy at the news about President Obama planning to visit the Golden Temple during his upcoming, November, visit to India . The Golden Temple is the holiest and highest shrine and the center of Sikhism in Amritsar, Punjab. President Obama is expected to sign major agreements with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during this trip . Dr. Rajwant Singh has been working with the Obama White House on many issues affecting Sikhs in America.

Golden Temple is known as Darbar Sahib to Sikhs and was built by the fifth Guru of the Sikhs in 1601 and it hosts the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib , containing the writings of Sikh Gurus and many Hindu and Muslim saints. Main feature of the Sikh shrine is round the clock musical singing of hymns from the Sikh scriptures which are universal in nature and are praises of One God.

Dr. Rajwant Singh had proposed this visit to the White House in order to send 'a good will gesture to all people of South Asia and also to send a signal of interfaith understanding.' He also had talks with SGPC , the governing body of the Golden Temple regarding this matter.

In a letter to the White House in past July, Dr. Singh had said, "[President Obama’s visit] will be a wonderful gesture since it is a symbol of interfaith understanding. The foundation stone of the temple was laid by a Muslim saint and constructed by Hindus and Sikhs and visited by people of all faiths from all over the world. Punjab shares 370 miles of border with Pakistan and it will be a powerful message by the President to the entire South Asia.”

Dr. Singh added, "President Obama’s visit will hopefully begin an era of peace and harmony. It will show that President Obama has deep respect for Eastern faith traditions and their role in bringing people together. This shows America’s respect for all faiths and traditions.”

Dr. Singh also said, "We are confident that after Obama’s visit to the Golden Temple, the US residents would come to know about the Sikhs and Sikhism in a better way. This visit will also help remove misunderstanding about Sikhs in America and many of the difficulties Sikhs face due to mistaken identity and security barriers. I have asked SCPC officials to prepare a memo highlighting Sikh issues to the President."

“Sikhs are grateful that President Obama has spoken about the rights of all minorities, including Sikhs throughout his political career. He demonstrated his kindness by hosting an event marking the first ever celebration of the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Founder of Sikhism, at the White House. We, as Sikhs, extend our help in achieving President Obama's goal of making America strong during this challenging time. We will continue to pray for his success as leader of this great nation."

Dr. Rajwant Singh with President Obama after the signing of Health Care legislation at the White House

Dr. Rajwant Singh has been invited by President Obama several times to the White House. SCORE has been instrumental in organizing the White House celebration of Guru Nanak’s birthday which featured singers from the Golden Temple.


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