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SALDEF SALDEF And Department Of Homeland Security Release Poster About Sikh Kirpan


Jun 1, 2004
Washington, D.C. November 21, 2006– Yesterday, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education FDHS Kirpan Posterund (SALDEF) released a poster explaining the Sikh Kirpan, produced in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The poster, entitled Sikh Americans and the Kirpan, provides a brief introduction to the Kirpan, a Sikh article of faith, and security recommendations for law enforcement officials when they come in contact with a Kirpan.

The Kirpan poster was formally unveiled in a joint SALDEF – DHS roll out event yesterday at the National Gurdwara in Washington, D.C. The Kirpan, a religious sword, which serves as a constant reminder to a Sikh's duty to uphold justice, has often caused law enforcement officials across the country much confusion. This poster, a product of extensive collaboration between DHS and SALDEF, will be used to inform thousands of federal law enforcement officers and security screeners about the religious significance of the Kirpan to Sikhs.

Speaking during the event, Daniel Sutherland, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at DHS commended SALDEF for its efforts in producing the poster. Mr. Sutherland stated: "We recognize the need to balance homeland security requirements with the ability of you as a Sikh to practice your faith. This poster is a tool to increase awareness about the Kirpan and enhance learning and understanding of your culture."

"This poster is one part of an ongoing effort by SALDEF to change the way law enforcement in the United States view the Kirpan." said SALDEF co-founder and Board Chairman Manjit Singh. "The increased awareness about the Kirpan among federal law enforcement officials will help in the appropriate handling and ensure a positive interaction between Sikh Americans and Federal law enforcement personnel."

Dean Hunter, Director of the Federal Protective Service, the main DHS agency which sponsored the poster, stated, "this is a win-win situation resulting from our partnership with SALDEF to develop the Kirpan poster. The poster will be distributed to 8,700 federal facilities across the country." The Office of Federal Protective Service (FPS) is a branch of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is responsible for the security of several thousand owned and leased Federal buildings, facilities, properties and other federal assets. The FPS is a force of 2,000 federal police officers which provides security police services to U.S. Federal buildings and other properties.

Including the Federal Protective Services (FPS), other agencies part of the three-year-old Department of Homeland Security include Transportation Security Agency (TSA), Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), US Coast Guard and the Secret Service to name a few.

SALDEF similarly collaborated with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2004 on a project to produce a poster entitled Common Sikh American Head Coverings. The purpose of that poster was to provide local, state and federal law enforcement officials with basic information about the Sikh faith, the significance of the Daastar (turban), and provide recommendations on handling the Daastar when interacting with Sikh Americans.

Over the past decade, SALDEF has achieved similar landmark accomplishments and successes for the Sikh American community. Since 1996 SALDEF has continuously increased collaboration with government officials and civic leaders. This poster is a prime example and byproduct of the dedicated and continued efforts of the past decade of seva (service) to the Sikh American community. We hope to continue this work for another decade, but can only do so with your generous support. Through your recurring financial support you can play a direct role in creating awareness about the Sikh identity among non-Sikhs, protect Sikhs from experiencing harassment while visiting a national park, being denied access to a courtroom to defend themselves as guaranteed them by the U.S. Constitution, or being a victim of hate crimes or workplace discrimination, and working with the oldest Sikh American civil rights organization in the country to further support and empower the Sikh American community. You can make your donation online in a few easy steps by clicking here. The DHS Kirpan Poster is available on SALDEF’s website at SALDEF - Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund - The new name of SMART.

A partial list of media coverage of this event is listed below:

Washington Post; A Pointed Reminder for Security Screeners, November 21, 2006
Daily News & Analysis: Kirpans get respect at US Airports, November 21, 2006
Poster Urges Screeners to Respect Sikh Sword


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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
This is another great article. The forum has more than a dozen of them just this week. Great educational coverage. Better than Sikhnet IMHO