Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world with a population of 23-25 million. About 700,000 Sikhs live in the United States.
News and Upcoming Events for Sikhs in Cleveland
Know Your Rights
Paramjit Singh created this booklet for the benefit of the Sikh Community. It is in Word format so that it can be adapted if needed.
Print it front and back fold and staple it to a booklet. Please feel free to add value to it. As you are aware that FBI is now authorized to investigate Hate Crimes involving Sikhs. Suggestions are always welcome.
Congratualtions to Dr. Gurdas Singh Dass who became the first Sikh veternarian to be on the American Veterinary Medical Board and its President in Ohio and the US.
VICTORY! 10 Months After Oak Creek, FBI Group Votes to Track Sikh Hate Crimes
From The Sikh Coalition:
June 5, 2013 (Washington, DC) – An advisory policy board of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) voted this afternoon to revise its hate crime statistics so that hate crimes are tracked against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs.
The board voted to create new religion tracking categories based on religious groups enumerated in Pew Forum studies and the last edition of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States, which includes Sikhs. The new changes are expected to be implemented by 2015.
The highly anticipated decision comes more than two years after the Sikh Coalition first requested that the agency begin tracking hate crimes against Sikh Americans, the way it does for Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Atheists. During this period, Sikhs have been subjected to a spate of suspected hate attacks in California, Florida, New York, Washington, and the massacre of six worshippers on August 5, 2012 at a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Over 140 bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and American Sikh Congressional Caucus, as well as the U.S. Attorney General, endorsed the Sikh Coalition’s request to add hate crime tracking categories for Sikhs, Hindus and Arabs.
The request for Sikh hate crime tracking was also poignantly made at a U.S. Senate hearing last September by Harpreet Singh Saini, who lost his mother during the Oak Creek attack.
According to Sikh Coalition surveys in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, approximately 10 percent of Sikh adults claim they have experienced physical violence or property damage because of their religion. This suggests that Sikhs may be hundreds of times more likely than their fellow Americans to experience hate crimes.
“We are grateful to the FBI’s advisory policy board for recognizing that Sikhs are targeted because of their distinct Sikh identity, especially their turbans, and for voting to give our community the dignity of recognition,” said Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy for the Sikh Coalition. “The new changes will strengthen diagnostic and deterrence efforts; increase awareness about Sikhs among law enforcement officials nationwide; and encourage Sikhs to begin reporting hate crimes to local, state, and federal authorities.”
“I am thrilled the FBI’s law enforcement advisory board agrees that the Hate Crimes Incident Report Forms must be updated to include at-risk communities like Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans. This has been a long time in the making, and today wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the determination and commitment by the Sikh Coalition,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). “While today is a great victory, our work to fight hate crimes against Sikhs cannot and will not end here. I’m proud to have worked with the Sikh Coalition from the very beginning on this issue, and will continue to work to put an end to these attacks once and for all.”
The Sikh Coalition is grateful to government officials who have supported our more than two year effort, including Congressman Joseph Crowley, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congressman David Valadao, Attorney General Eric Holder, the White House and the Civil Rights Division and Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice. We are also grateful to our coalition partners, including the Anti-Defamation League, and the interfaith community for supporting our campaign.
Most of all, the Sikh Coalition is extremely grateful to and inspired by the Sikh American community, especially the community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, for emailing, calling, and speaking with government officials and the media about the need to track hate crimes against Sikhs.
In the coming months, the Sikh Coalition looks forward to working with the FBI to quickly implement the new changes and ensure that we have accurate statistics about hate crimes against our community. This will help government officials allocate resources efficiently to address the problem and make our community safer.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges Sikhs everywhere to practice their faith fearlessly.
Ratanjit S. Sondhe inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame
Ratanjit Sondhe was inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Wednesday May 8, 2013. Ratanjit was inducted by Ken Lanci, Chairman and CEO of Consolidated Graphics Group. The honorees were inducted at a sold-out (over 430) dinner ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott at Key Center.
Ratanjit is the second Sikh to be inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame following Paramjit Singh's 2010 induction.
Church Women United in Greater Cleveland is a group of women who gather together to promote the positive similarities of our faiths and accentuate the underlying oneness of the various religious groups and affiliations. This year's theme was "The Myths And Mysteries In Our Religions" and featured speakers from the following faiths: Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Muslim and Sikh.
Ratanjit Sondhe of the Guru Nanak Foundation spoke about the Sikh faith
Ratanjit Sondhe told of the complete equality of women and men in the Sikh faith. He said that the civility of a society is measured by how educated and respected their women are.
Our condolences to the family and friends of the victims of the senseless Milwaukee tragedy.
About 700 members of the Sikh and non-Sikh communities gathered on Sunday August 12 at the Richfield Ohio Sikh Gurdwara for a special service to unite the community and show support for the victims of this senseless tragedy.
Politicians and Sikh and other religious and community organizations leaders spoke. See photos and videos from the event as listed below.
Several other local vigils were also held. Two vigils on Wednesday, August 8 at the Bedford and Richfield Gurdwaras and one on Saturday evening August 11 at the Bedford Gurdwara. Wednesday August 12 at 6:00pm at the Free Stamp in Willard Park organized by the Federation of India Community Associations (FICA).
The Sikh Community of Greater Cleveland reports that they are "touched by the overwhelming support by the community at large."
Serving Humanity is one of the pillars of the Sikh faith. Paramjit Singh and other volunteers of Project Seva have been serving the community in Cleveland for years. For example, Project Seva has been working with St. Colman's Church at West 65th and Lorain since 1999. Last year, Project Seva served over 125,000 pounds of food in 3 churches and the American Indian Education Center.
During the Christmas season, the Project Seva dinner at St Colman's Church took on a holiday flavor. Watch as Paramjit Singh explains Project Seva's role in the Christmas celebration.
organizations and religious institutions in the Greater Cleveland area that seeks to explore, practice and promote Mahatma Gandhi's and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy of using nonviolence for righting wrongs and establishing a culture of humanity, justice, peace and nonviolence for the prosperity of the area.
Paramjit Singh has been working his entire life to bring these ideals to his adopted home city. He created the Cyber Wall of Peace whereby people can pledge to Treat others the way you would like to be treated, Stand against hate, injustice and intolerance and similar ideals. If you agree, please sign the pledge.
Paramjit Singh recommends the following books by Dr. I.J. Singh
The world's first dedicated Sikh memorial is being planned
Ed Hill of the Derby Telegraph reports, "The world's first dedicated Sikh memorial is being planned in Derby to represent millions of Sikhs who died in six holocausts and both world wars.
Planning permission is being sought to create the National Sikh Holocaust and Shaheedi Memorial in Pear Tree.
The Sikh community said it would be "unique" and the first of its kind worldwide.
Gurmel Singh Kandola, one of the volunteers who
set up the National Sikh Heritage Centre, in Prince's Street, said funding would come entirely from donations from the Sikh community. He said: "This memorial is going to have a lot of interest from around the world. It will be really high-profile.
"We hope a member of the Royal family will formally open it later this year."
The memorial, 7.2 metres high and 13 metres wide, would be made from granite and sandstone and built close to the heritage centre, where a museum dedicated to Sikh culture opened two years ago. It would highlight the huge contribution of Sikhs to the UK Sikhs who died in the world wars and a further 109,000 were injured.
And it would be a place to remember the millions who died in six holocausts in India and Pakistan between 1658 and 1995.
The project has been welcomed by Gurmel Singh Bola, whose uncle, Chatter Singh, was killed in 1984 during the most recent holocaust. The 50-year-old, of Heatherton village, said: "My uncle was shot by a policeman and then a mob starting beating him with metal rods and set fire to him.
"I think this memorial is a very nice idea, especially as there are war memorials around the country but nothing like this."
The memorial, if given permission, would be made of white stone, white granite, black granite and sandstone. People would enter through an ornate archway and
there would be eight steps up to a water feature, with seats lined up on either side for people to sit.
Last year, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the heritage centre, which focuses on the Sikh story. Mr Singh Kandola said: "We are a community which
hasn't healed. The Jewish community has gone some way to heal, but we feel our story hasn't been told.
"We haven't had any closure and this is why we are having this memorial." He added that "political reasons" had prevented a memorial being built in India.
Engineering firm Morgan Tucker would design and manage the construction of the memorial from different types of stone each with a specific meaning.
Matthew Tucker, from the firm, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Sikh community on this memorial. "The combined museum and heritage centre and
memorial will put Derby on the world stage."
Full planning permission will be sought shortly. If granted, work could start on site in the
spring, said Mr Tucker, with the memorial completed later in 2011.
Frank McArdle, chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council, is patron to the
National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum. He said: "I am convinced that this is an excellent opportunity to promote community cohesion in and around the city of Derby.
"This will be a beacon which will help promote Derby as a destination for Sikhs from all over the world for many years to come."
Six Holocausts In Four Centuries:
1st Sikh Holocaust, 1658
Muslim Emperor Auragnzeb, on becoming the ruler of India in 1658, started a campaign to forcibly convert the entire population of India to his faith.
2nd Sikh Holocaust, 1708-1716
The Mughal Emperors Bahadur Shah and Farrukh Shah took steps to try to exterminate the Sikhs by
issuing a number of edicts instructing the population. An estimated 25,000 Sikhs died as a result.
3rd Sikh Holocaust 1726-1746
During this period bounties were placed on the heads of Sikhs. Information on the whereabouts of
a Sikh was worth 10 Rupees, a dead Sikh was worth 50 and a Sikh brought alive to the Lahore markets was worth 100.
4th Sikh Holocaust 1758-1767
Ahmed Shah Abdali invaded India from Afghanistan and despised the Sikhs who constantly harassed
his armies. For revenge, he sent an army of over 150,000 men to attack a much smaller band of Sikhs. Over 30,000 Sikhs were killed in February 1762. This event is known in Sikh history as the Wada Ghallughara, or the Great Holocaust.
5th Sikh Holocaust 1947
India was given independence from the British but the Sikhs' homeland, Panjab, was carved in two between India and the new Pakistan.
Sikhs found themselves being run out of their own homes by mobs. An estimated 40% of the Sikh population became homeless and 2.5% of the Sikh population killed.
6th Sikh Holocaust 1984-1995
Sikhs demanded resolution of their historical grievances relating to Panjab state but the
media, politicians, police, army and extremist organisations were used to silence them. In total about 200,000 Sikhs died.
Paramjit Singh named to Inaugural Class of Cleveland International Hall of Fame.
Paramjit Singh first came to Cleveland in 1962 and has been helping the local community since then. Mr. Singh joined a stellar cast of inductees in the inaugural class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame.
The core philosophy of the Sikh religion can be understood in the beginning hymn of the holy Guru Granth Sahib
"There is one supreme eternal reality; the truth; imminent in all things; creator of all things; immanent in creation. Without fear and without hatred; not subject to time; beyond birth and death; self-revealing. Known by the Guru’s grace."
Guru Nanak, the founder of the faith, summed up the basis of Sikh lifestyle in three requirements: Naam Japo, Kirat Karni and Wand kay Shako, which means meditate on the holy name (Waheguru), work diligently and honestly, and share one's fruits.