Sikh Americans hope Obama would still visit Amritsar

Last Updated 20 October 2010, 13:12 IST

"The Obamas can choose to wear anything which they like. This is total misunderstanding and there is no restriction," Rajwant Singh, National Chairman, Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) told IANS.

"Sikhs in America are joyous about President Obama's visit and they will continue to pray this happens and it is not cancelled due to any reason," he said.

The community leader, who was at the forefront of the move to invite Obama to visit the Sikh’s holiest shrine said he had talked to the President of SGPC, the high priest of the Golden Temple -Akal Takhat and the people who make the decisions.

“They have categorically stated that there is no problem in President Obama wearing any kind of head covering, hat or baseball cap or anything of his choosing or his spouse Michelle choosing to visit the Golden Temple." Queen Elizabeth visited the Golden Temple in October 1997 covering her head with a hat, he pointed out.

"The Sikhs around the world are praying that this visit goes as planned.   This is also honouring the most important leader and a friend, (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh who led efforts to bring India closer to America,” Rajwant Singh said.

Cancelling the visit at this stage would be not be advisable politically or on spiritual grounds, he said describing the issue as “some sort of mischief to damage the president so that he cancels his trip which has the potential to send a very negative message to Sikhs, Muslims and all minorities in the world.”

Noting that “This will not show him in positive light,” he said “We are confident that President Obama will make the right decision.”

“He is a leader and his actions ought to be thoughtful and full of consideration. He is truly a leader of the most powerful nation and he must leave an unmatched legacy for generations to come.”

“Golden Temple is a symbol of interfaith understanding. The foundation stone was laid by a Muslim saint and built by Hindus and Sikhs and it is visited by people of all faiths from all over the world,” Rajwant Singh said.

“President Obama’s visit would send a very significant message of mutual respect and harmony to this region of the world,” he said. “Once again, this is now a moral issue and President has to take a stand. May God bless him to make the right move!”

(Published 20 October 2010, 13:12 IST)

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