Sikhs in the spotlight at the Parliament of the World's Religions 2015
Langar Served, Turbans Tied, Sikh Issues at Forefront at the Parliament.

Click here for photos of the 2015 Parliament.

Salt Lake City, USA -The Parliament of the World's Religions ended on Monday after five days of interfaith dialogue, exhibitions and performances. The 2015 Parliament was officially opened with a parade of flags and Native American drumming as regional tribal chiefs welcomed us to their land, and prayed for world peace. It was attended by 10,000 people from 80 countries and 50 faith and non-faith groups. Lord Indarjit Singh of the UK, delivered the Sikh message of interfaith understanding and of defending religious freedom, during the opening plenary session. You may listen to his address here.

This year, UNITED SIKHS volunteers at the Parliament spoke on service (seva) as a pathway to alleviate human suffering; that society will have to address fear in order to address hate crime and prejudice; how technology may help alleviate poverty in Panjab where a farmer is committing suicide every few hours; and how there can be no peace until truth is revealed for justice and reconciliation to take place.

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UNITED SIKHS' International Legal Director Mejindarpal Kaur speaks on "Truth, Justice and Reconciliation"

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(Left) Tanbir Kaur, UNITED SIKHS (Canada) Director speaking on our efforts to provide pensions to farmer suicide widows. Suneet Sinqh, CEO of Datawind and UNITED SIKHS Advisor (sitting) later spoke on how technology could alleviate poverty and (Right) UNITED SIKHS' Sun Kaur addresses Parlknnent attendees on Addressing Prejudice and Hate Crimes"

Kamalla Kaur addressed attendees on her journey discovering Sikhi and said, "Having so many people from so many faith traditions talking, singing, praying and working for world peace is grand. The Parliament of World Religions gives me renewed hope for humanity, and faith in Creation/Creator."

Norman Kreisman, a Californian attorney, spoke as 'The American who lived with Bhindranwale' and shared insights into the spirituality of Sant Jarnail Singh. Mr Kreisman lived for 1.5 years in a room next to Sant Jarnail Singh's at Guru Nanak Niwas at Darbar Sahib (The Golden Temple), before the June 1984 attack on the Sikh sanctum sanctorum.

Prof Indira Prahst, from Vancouver, examined media representations of Sikhs and how the turban has been signified through a "violent" gaze by the public towards the turban against the back drop of the war on terrorism, secularism and Nation Building. She argued that the image of Sikhs is a politics of representation.

Langar was prepared and served by Sikhs to thousands of attendees every day of the Parliament. Langar is a Sikh tradition of a free community meal for anyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, colour or class. By the end of the conference, maybe a third of those serving Langar were non-Sikhs who were inspired to join in the great seva.

Rev. Marie Gasau, from Oak Creek, Colorado, who had not partaken Langar before, approached one of the Langar organisers, Balwant Singh, and requested his help to start Langar in her home town where there is no Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship). You may listen to her moving story here.

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Langar served

Sikhs also made their presence felt, when volunteers of the American Sikh Council tied turbans for non-Sikh Parliament attendees. Hundreds of non-Sikhs were seen sporting colourful turbans at the Parliament and on the streets and shopping malls near the Parliament venue.

One non-Sikh attendee who wore his turban to the airport on his way home said, "I have not taken my turban off because I want to know what Sikhs go through at airports when their turbans are searched."

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Turban Tying

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Issued By-

Mejindarpal Kaur
International Legal Director
International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA),UNITED SIKHS
E:[email protected]

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