'It feels really nice to be here': Sikh refugee families facing persecution in Afghanistan arrive in Calgary

First 2 of 65 families arrive, helped by the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation and the World Sikh Organization

Members of the city's Sikh community were at the Calgary airport on Tuesday to welcome the first two families out of an eventual 65 who are coming to Canada as refugees from Afghanistan, where they faced religious persecution.

The Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation is spearheading the effort to help the Sikh and Hindu families get out of Afghanistan, with support from community members and the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

"Sikhs and Hindus have endured increasing religious persecution and today face a difficult if not unlivable situation in many parts of Afghanistan," the WSO said in a release.

"Prior to 1992, their population numbered over 200,000; however, due to persecution and discrimination, most have been forced to flee to other countries."...

...Speaking through an interpreter, 10-year-old Joginder Singh said he's looking forward to getting a good education in Canada to make his parents proud. He said he's glad to be out of Afghanistan, where the Muslim majority tried to convert Sikhs like him to Islam...

..."They were just happy to leave Afghanistan and that their life is saved. They're happy to practise their religion, out in the open," she said.

"They didn't have any human rights there. They weren't allowed to even leave their houses."

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