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NRI Sikh 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 letter:

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 fortunate.

[] SALDEF urges youto contact the Union Mission of Roanoke [] Rapids to express your disappointment.


  • NOTE: news media's reporter left a message to Rev. Ronald C Weeks, executive director for clarification of his email to SALDEF
  • By 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