Posted by PatriotUSA :
|Golden Temple in Amritsar, India|
Sikhs say President Obama bent to ‘fears’
The New York Times reported last week that Obama will not visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar because he would be required to cover his head when he entered it, and pictures of him could perpetuate the false belief that he is a Muslim.
On Wednesday, the White House confirmed Obama wouldn’t be going. Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told reporters simply that India is a “big country” and that “we can never do as many events as we’d like to do.”
“I’m not really buying it,” Sapreet Kaur, the executive director of the Sikh Coalition, said in a statement. “I think the administration has been struggling with the false accusation that the president is Muslim.
“If somebody doesn’t want to come, then they should not come for the right reasons and not hide behind these sort of excuses,” said Jasjit Singh, the associate executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “He’s playing the game, and that’s what’s unfortunate.”
The possibility that Obama would visit the temple gave hope to American Sikhs that they would be recognized in a significant way for the first time in nearly a decade — if only for a day.
“It would have been a huge moment, a seminal moment, for President Obama to come there and kind of show to the world that this is a vibrant religious minority here,” said Hansdeep Singh, an attorney for United Sikhs. “It is disappointing.”
An official familiar with the visit said the discussion about Obama’s itinerary started six months ago, but that changes can be made for any number of reasons.
Obama will visit India after the midterm elections for three full days of events, including a town hall with students, a visit to Gandhi’s tomb, an address to parliament and a dinner with Manmohan Singh, the first Sikh to be India’s prime minister.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to the Golden Temple when they visited India. Jasjit Singh noted that Harper simply wore a handkerchief on his head to meet the religious requirement.
“It’s a significant place, and I think that this is really him not really upholding his campaign promise, which was to rise above this dialogue of fear, which is dividing the country effectively,” Singh said of Obama. “By canceling his visit, what does he do? He’s emboldening those who are seeking to divide us.”
While Sikhs say they’re “more than disappointed” Obama’s avoiding the temple, there are other holy places he could visit in Pakistan next year, including the site where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, was born.
Or he could still visit other Gurdwaras – the Sikh temples – in New Delhi that are “in line” with his schedule, Kaur said. Even a brief visit, she said, would mean something to Sikhs who had looked forward to him bringing their religion to the forefront.
Hansdeep Singh said the United Sikhs would “continue to push” Obama to visit Sikh shrines in the United States and abroad. “We want to have a continuing dialogue with the White House,” he said.
Hat tip: Creeping Sharia
- Sikh Americans not buying Obama excuse for skipping Amritsar (topinews.com)
- Sikhs say Obama bended to ‘fears’ (politico.com)
- Barack Obama May Not Visit Sikh Temple Over Required Headwear [Travel] (gawker.com)
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