Expelled from North Carolina Food Bank
Sikh American Expelled
from North Carolina Food Bank for Practicing his Faith;
SALDEF Urges Interfaith Groups to Support Religious Freedom
Washington, DC, November 20, 2008 – Yesterday, the Sikh
American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) learned that
Mr. Gurnam Singh Khera—a Sikh American—was expelled
from a community center in North Carolina because he wore a Dastaar
(Sikh turban) in accordance with his faith.
The incident reportedly occurred at the Union Mission facility
in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Mr. Khera and his wife went
to the facility to make a donation for a Thanksgiving Food Drive
and expressed interest in sending their children to the facility
during the Thanksgiving holidays to serve food to the needy.
Upon entering the facility, Mr. Khera was told by a receptionist
that “this is the United States” and that he needed
to remove his Dastaar. When Mr. Khera attempted to explain the
religious significance of the Dastaar, the receptionist refused
to speak with him. When the Reverend in charge of the facility
was summoned, Mr. Khera offered a handshake, but the Reverend
reportedly refused to reciprocate and asked Mr. Khera and his
wife to leave the facility, saying: “Go donate to some other
place; we do not need your donations unless you remove your turban.”
Click here to read the response from Union Mission to SALDEF's
Every Sikh Gurdwara, placeof worship, throughout the world has
operated the Guru Ka Langar, a ?freecommunity kitchen for more
than five centuries.
At each Guru Ka Langar, volunteers of all faiths serve free
mealsto all visitors, regardless of race, religion, gender, caste,
or social standing.
In keeping with this tradition, SikhAmericans throughout the
United States have routinely partnered withchurches and other
places of worship to feed the homeless and provide relief tovictims
of natural disasters.
We are profoundly offended that a community center would repudiate
a Sikh Americanbecause of his religion and refuse his Thanksgiving
donation, said RajbirSingh Datta, National Director of SALDEF.
Religious discrimination has no place in the United States,
and we call upon Union Mission to issue a written apology to Mr.
Khera and the entire SikhAmerican community and work with SALDEF
on efforts to
celebrate religious diversity in the cause of helping the less
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] SALDEF urges youto contact the Union
Mission of Roanoke [mailto:email@example.com] Rapids to express
- NOTE: NRIpress.com news media's reporter
left a message to Rev. Ronald C Weeks, executive director for
clarification of his email to SALDEF
Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh Indianapolis, Indiana USA,
Nov. 21, 2008: Ignorance, racial profiling, negative stereotyping
and hostility as displayed in the story attached below must
never have a place in our beloved City and State, especially....Read