Updated 6:05 am, Aug 17, 2018

Turban Day in Times Square gives Sikh respect that it deserves: US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney | SNE

By  The Indian Express .
Apr 19, 2018

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US Congresswoman has commended the celebration of the Sikh culture through the annual Turban Day event at the iconic Times Square, saying such events give the Sikh faith and tradition the respect it “deserves”.

Maloney had joined President of the American India Public Affairs Committee Jagdish Sehwani and Sikhs of New York for Turban Day on April 7 at the popular New York destination. The gathering in Times Square celebrated South Asian Culture and the art of turban tying.

“It was my pleasure to join the Sikh community for Turban Day in Times Square,” Maloney said in a statement.

She said the day holds “special meaning” for her because not so long ago Sikhs were not permitted to wear turbans while on duty in the Army. She added that in 2010, she had interceded on behalf of Simran Preet Singh Lamba, who requested permission to keep the articles of his Sikh faith while serving in the Army.

“So it is wonderful to see a day celebrating this important cultural tradition and giving it the respect that it deserves,” Maloney said.

The Sikhs of New York have organised the Turban Day in the city since 2013 with the aim of educating people about the Sikh faith and identity and to promote equality. This year the organization created a world record for most turbans tied in 8 hours. Representatives from Guinness World Records judged the event in Times Square and presented the organisation with an official certificate upon successfully achieving the record.

The organisation won the certificate from the Guinness World Record for the “most turbans tied in 8 hours was achieved by Sikhs of NY (USA) in Times Square in New York, USA on April 7, 2018”.

Turban Day brings together hundreds of volunteers from the Sikh community who tie colourful turbans on New Yorkers, tourists and Americans from across the country visiting Times Square. While tying the turbans, they also talk about the Sikh identity, making people aware of the culture.

The event has been aimed at spreading awareness among Americans and other nationalities about the Sikh religion and its articles of faith, especially the turban, which has often been misconceived and misidentified as being associated with terrorism particularly in the years since the 9/11 terror attacks.

Sikhs for New York said thousands of New Yorkers and visitors from around the globe. In Lamba’s case, Maloney had sent a letter with Rep. Gregory Meeks on behalf of Lamba, a Sikh recruit who had requested permission to keep the articles of his Sikh faith while in service to the United States.

Recruited by the Army in 2009 through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program for his language skills in Punjabi and Hindi, Lamba was initially advised by an Army recruiter that his Sikh articles of faith would likely be accommodated, the statement added. However, in March 2010, his formal request for a religious accommodation was denied.

Maloney wrote to Defence Secretary Robert Gates supporting Lamba’s accommodation. Lamba appealed the initial decision, and that appeal was accepted, the statement from Maloney’s office added.

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