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USA U.S. Sikhs Urge Obama To Visit Golden Temple, Despite Rumors (with Comments From The US)


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
U.S. Sikhs Urge Obama To Visit Golden Temple, Despite Rumors

Fowarded to SPN by member Tejwant Singh ji Malik

By Whitney Jones
Religion News Service

(RNS) American Sikhs are urging President Obama to visit the famed Golden Temple in India next month, despite his administration's reported concern that wearing the headscarf required for entry will inflame false rumors that Obama is a Muslim.

The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund said that if Obama did not visit the Golden Temple, a sacred site for Sikhs, he would add to anti-Islamic sentiments in America.

"The religious site stands for many of the same ideals as America equality, universality and freedom," SALDEF said in a statement. "In canceling his visit, President Obama emboldens those who seek to divide us based on race and religion.

Sikhs have been often mistaken as Muslims because turbans, uncut hair and beards are articles of faith for men. Since 9/11, Sikhs have endured anti-Muslim discrimination and attacks in the U.S. because of the confusion between the two faiths.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday (Oct. 20) that the schedule for the visit to India has not yet been finalized.

"This trip will focus on our business in the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, he said in a statement. "But we pick where were going to go on trips based on what we hope to accomplish.

Although Obama is a Christian, he has had to fend off rumors that he is a Muslim. The New York Times reported Tuesday (Oct. 19) that an unnamed U.S. official said Obama will not visit the Golden Shrine for fear that pictures of the president in a headscarf will be used by political opponents as proof that he is not Christian.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Readers of the Huffington Post speak out.


What a sad condemnation of the current state of affairs. Why does he continue to pander to the bottom of the barrel crowd?

Just simply amazing. My advise. Take a page from Bush Jr. Show a middle finger to your detractors and Start leading pal, instead of pandering.

topguide: What a sad condemnation of the current state of affairs.


Wearing a head-covering, removing shoes - these are all acts of respect for the religion concerned. It's not so long ago that all women were expected to wear hats in church (to cover their lustrous, lust-inducing hair) and all men were expected to remove them as an act of subservience (go figure!). It is traditional to observe the customs of the faith you are visiting (within reason).

But really - it doesn't matter one jot if Obama wears a headscarf or not, to the kind of people who think the Muslim and Hindu faiths are one and the same.


It is true what you said about the chuch and the women wearing hats and men having to take them off but I wonder why Obama has to go visit a temple when leaders from other countries come to the states you dont see them visiting a chuch. When Obama visit a foreign country he does it as the head of state and we have seperation of states and religion so he has no reason to visit temples or mosques etc


I would imagine he is trying to build bridges in India. When you visit another country, you build the bridge where it will have the most impact


Here comes the tro//s with the Fox meme/talking point of the day!

You don't know how many dignitaries come here on a regular basis, attend services where ever they choose, visit other houses of worship upon invitation, do you?

NOW it's back to separation of church and state when two days ago, there was no such thing in the constitution according to a Republican candidate, actually several republicans as of late...so, today, if the President goes to a country and is invited to attend a religious institution, he shouldn't on'a'count'a separation of church and state???? But if it were a christian church, that would be OK, right?


Shoes are removed not only to keep the floors clean (out of tradition once again), but there is a custom of washing the"dust of the feet of the saints", which roughly translate (and if there is a Sikh scholar, correct me), as anyone who enters should be treated just as if they were "holy" a saint regardless of social or financial status...same tradition of washing the feet of the poor as it's a blessing on your soul. And, when you leave the Temple, a lot of times, you will find your shoes have been dusted, cleaned! Again, a sign of respect, cleanliness and caring for others...

In India, you will see people greeting spiritual "dignitaries" by running up and touching their feet. Many do not like the practice as they don't want to be seen as "saints", but, touching the feet of a person of reverence is part of the culture as is washing the feet of all who enter the Temple.

They are not rumors. It is scurrilous that the headline writer calls the lies that racists tell to create hatred - rumors.

The President of the United States is a practicing Christian, for you to say he is lying is a not small attack, not small and its ugly shame on Huffpost's headline writers


Would it be out of the realm of possibility for the Sikhs to host Obama without a turban, out of respect? He is, after all, the leader of a country. I'm humbly asking. My question is not meant to be inflammatory.


Of course not.


Sikhs ask no one to wear a turban. They are asking him to do what they ask ALL humans, to do; cover your head when you enter our temple as it is our tradition going back many centuries. Period.

No one is special at the temple, especially dignitaries as that too is part of the Sikh tradition.*..everyone sits on the floor with everyone else (the old, arthritic, disabled are given chairs) as a symbol that all who enter are one...all cover their heads. Period.


EVeryone i know who has been to the temple wore something on the hear - some did scraves, some wore just a handkerchief, infact i dont know any non sikh wearing a turban, there is also a tradition in that temple where everyperson has to roll some bread out for evry day there is a free meal for everyone in the temple -= no matter how many people come there. It is indeed a treat to see i believe, not only for religios reasons but for the fact that its a one of a kind monument


The tradition goes all the way back to the days when Sikhs were fighting the extremist inflicting Jihad on their land, families...they set up kitchens along many routes so that their soldiers and families could always have a meal, as well as any stranger in need; they were called "Langar Halls" and the food is commonly known as "langer".

The meals are vegetarian out of respect for all religious traditions as some Indians do not eat meat, some only eat certain meat; the Sikh did not want to insult or offend, just feed the people...it's always simple: beans rice and bread, called "chapati" made of wheat flour and water...

It would be sooo cool if they took Obama in the kitchen and taught him to make chapati!

emma richmond

We think the President should go to the GOLDEN TEMPLE, he's the President of the United States, and he Represent our Country, He should honor India, Culture, we have other Countries Going to India and Respecting their Culture, this Country is the only one sharing they Ignorance, and Silliness, they are going to call you names no matter what you do, President Obama is the President and he should make his mind up and stop letting these {censored}s dictate to him, they go off and take all kinds of money from these foreign countries Chamber of Commerece have excepted Lobbyist Money from India, we say for the President you're the leader of this Country, we say go to the GOLDEN TEMPLE, the one's that will be complainting is the one's that would be Jealous and Envy of not going to a Place like that, So we hope the President will go for it, they will talk regardless of what he do.

Should he pander to the culturally ignorant fringe, or should he do what's right and visit the Temple? It doesn't matter what he does to appease these clowns, they're going to believe what they are told to believe by right wingers. Where does Jeremiah Wright fit into Obama's alleged Muslim faith?

We badly need cultural education in this country. I hope he goes and puts on the Sikh turban. Millions of Americans will finally know the enormous difference between Sikhs and Muslims.


He should not wear a turban for the simple reason that it's unnecessary; Sikhs just don't go around tying them on every head just for fun. Turbans aren't Mickey Mouse ears....

Non-Sikhs wear scarves to Temple...any kind as long as it covers the top of the head and is respectful.

This is why I love that America has seperation of church and state. If a dignatary visits the US he doesn't HAVE to visit a church.

...making innuendo out of nothing I see.

Visiting a foreign religious institution via invitation is now a "force" issue connecting "freedom" to "worship" and making it into a forced goose-step? Obviously, your republican as no other creature on the planet connects more ways to take one's ball and go home every time they don't like the "rules" or the playing field or the other players...or their religion.

Which one of the Fox idiots are spreading this talking point around, huh?


The Sikh's are just another of many religions and cultures in India, 5 times the size of the US, and it is not a religious State, it is a secular state.

doublehappi *
You need to check your facts - India a secular democracy with the head of a state being a catholic, prime minister a sikh, ex president a muslim and home of the third lasrgest muslim body in the world, and home to 700 million hindus.

India much more successfull as a secular state than the US because of ignorant people like you.


Too bad too many of the gross old party/tea-baggers are too ignant of the differences between the Sikhs, and Muslims...


If Obama did attend this Sikh temple and wore a headress. No doubt some righties would create a viral email, saying it was proof of Obama being a muslim. The thing we progressives need to do is fight back. When some person sends you a viral email, fact check it. Do a google search. If the email is false, tell the person who sent it to you that it is untrue. Provide the link and tell them they need to correct the lie they spread. No doubt they sent it to more then just you. Do this will all viral emails. There are so many lies floating around the internet. Most of them attacking Obama and the democrats. We need to fight the smears.


Well said


I like your name. Fanned


I saw much hostility toward Sikhs in the US after 9/11 just because they wore turbans. You can be sure that a picture of Obama in a headscarf would be plastered all over Fox news, teabagger political ads and signs at teabag rallies. The teabaggers, especially in the less informed South and Midwest, would take this as ironclad proof that Obama is a Muslim.

But the ignorant peaople you speak of are only 20 % of the population.

I hope Obama wears a Presidential cap.


I hate to say it, but due to the rabid right and the eagerness of them to portray the president as an anti-American radical extremist; due to the rights capability to control the MSM and what the majority of Americans read snd see; due to the current climate of intolerance and fear fed by the likes of Faux and their minions, I don't think it is prudent to don anything that will be misconstrued and used against you.

If you haven't noticed yet, these days American people are more reactionary than discerning. They are more likely to form opinions based on a picture than by reading the story behind it.



What would be the issue if Obama were a Muslim? Why pander to extremist Christians?
noneIn2008: What would be the issue if Obama were a Muslim?


The racism has nothing to do with Christians, but racists use Christianity to attack others, it is ugly, worse than pandering, its hate, and it abuses Christianity, just as jihadists abuse Islam.

Logos Land

Just wear the turban, Mr President.


The President of the United States does not have to do any such thing. The Sikh religion does not demand it.


What a great idea. Obama should jump on this and wear a turban because Middle America is a lot more knowledgeable about different religions then we give them credit for.

AirViceMarshalPark *

Righto. They know Baptists from the pagans.



It isn't Christians who cannot tell, its lying right wing racists.


The white house should be nervous. No doubt the wingnuts would be hysterical with glee if he was seen wearing some kind of head gear.

Most Americans don't know the difference between Sikhs and Muslims. After 9/11 some poor Sikh has pulled from a train and arrested because the stupid passengers thought he was Muslim and he had a knife too ( gasp).

The only Muslims wearing turbans are clergy and all Sikhs carry a knife, it's a religious symbol. Honestly, I am constantly amazed and embarrassed at the ignorance of Americans.



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