Sikhism and Sikhs in Minnesotaby Roseanne Pereira, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Sikhs worldwide
Sikhism is the 5th largest organized religion in the world; there are 23 million Sikhs worldwide.
The religion originated in northern India during the 16th century. It was based on the ideas of Nanak, a man troubled by the divisions between Hindus and Muslims he witnessed. Nanak disappeared by the river for three days and emerged with a vision of unity.
Guru Nanak preached that beneath all labels, humanity is one. Sikhs believe in the idea of one God, in serving and loving one's neighbor and in working earnestly.
Most Sikhs still live in India, where they make up the majority of the state of Punjab. In Western countries, Sikhs are sometimes mistaken for Middle Eastern men or Muslims because of the turbans they wear as an article of faith.
Sikhs in Minnesota
Half a million Sikhs live in the U.S. Officials at the Minneapolis gurdwara, the Sikh temple, estimate between 1,000 -- 2,000 Sikhs are currently in the Twin Cities area.
After September 11, 2001, there were misunderstandings between Sikhs and non-Sikhs in Minnesota.
Daljeet Singh Sikka, Vice President of the Minneapolis gurdwara remembers hearing about Sikhs in an Eagan grocery store that were yelled at to go home in the days after September 11.
Also, says Sikka, a Sikh man was ordered to remove his turban for his driver's license photograph. Sikka says he has heard fewer stories of hostile treatment in recent years. However, he knows that there are still people that need to be educated about his religion. Local Sikhs do outreach in schools, informing children about the Sikh religion and inviting them to visit the gurdwara.