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A New Door Opens For Sikhs: Turbans And Beards In Los Angeles

Jun 1, 2004
A New Door Opens for Sikhs: Turbans and Beards in Los Angeles Sheriffs Department

July 26th, 2004


Once again Sheriff Leroy D. Baca has lead the way in the battle for equal opportunity and fair treatment for all Californians and has set an example for all of America by inviting Sikh Americans to join and serve in the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department while maintaining their religiously mandated appearance.

Tonight at 7:00pm at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in the main hearing room, Jagjit Singh, the first turbaned and bearded Sikh in the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department will graduate from levels 1 & 2 of his reserve training.

Sikhs are mandated by their faith to not cut their hair and male Sikhs are required to cover their head with a turban in reverence to God.

Because of this tenant of the faith, which comes into conflict with most modern military and law enforcement grooming and dress codes, Sikhs have long been excluded in America from serving their communities in the military and in law enforcement.

The Sikh community long known for its love of freedom and democracy, has distinguished itself in military and civil service throughout the world with more than 90,000 Sikhs giving their lives in WWII fighting against Hitler and the Japanese.

You can find Sikh police officers through out the world, in Canada, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, India, and on and on, which have the reputation of being the most honest and dedicated of police officers.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Sikhs and for America", stated Nirinjan Singh Khalsa, Executive Director of the California Sikh Council. "Because of our appearance, the Sikh community has suffered greatly after 9/11 from hate crimes and harassment from a large number of Americans ignorant of who Sikhs are and what we stand for. It’s time that Sikh Americans and the rest of America got to know each other a lot better."

Jul 13, 2004
Better Late than Never.

Certainly good to see, that at least the things have started, although sikh immigrants/ citizens are there in a number of countries, for a number of years (more than 100 in a few). Just a starting point, and Jagjit Singh is definitely going to act as a pioneer in his field for sikhs, by creating this historical moment of pride for all of us.

Charhdee Kala.