Religious Diversity News

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Yuba City Gurdwara Hosts Memorial Service for Pope, Invites Local Catholics

Source: Appeal-Democrat

On April 7, 2005 the Appeal-Democrat reported, “Yuba-Sutter’s Sikh community provided further proof Wednesday that respect for the late Pope John Paul II extends far beyond the Catholic church.

The Sri Guru Nanak Sikh Temple…held a memorial service for the pope and invited members of Yuba City’s St. Isidore Catholic Church.

A photo of John Paul stood below portraits of Sikhism’s holiest men as temple members came forward, placed offerings on the altar and knelt.

About 200 people attended, including a dozen or so St. Isidore members who shed their shoes, covered their heads and sat on the carpeted floor of the cavernous temple.

Incense filled the air as musicians played East Indian hymns that temple board member Mohinder Singh Ghag said expressed how Sikhs, Catholics and members of other religions are all God’s children.”

Yuba City Gurdwara Wins in Zoning Battle

Source: The Appeal-Democrat

On August 7, 2006 The Appeal-Democrat reported, “Sutter County supervisors erred when they rejected a new Sikh temple near Yuba City, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in favor of the Guru Nanak Sikh Society, which asked the county for permission to convert a building on 29 acres of agriculturally-zoned land at 1298 South George Washington Blvd. to a temple accommodating 75 people.

The court ruled that supervisors imposed a ‘substantial burden’ on the Sikhs’ religious exercise under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, or RLUIPA.

The board had previously refused the Sikhs’ request to build on a two-acre site in a residential neighborhood on Grove Road.

Sutter County ‘did not assert, much less prove, compelling interests for its action,’ the appeals court said.

Society spokesman Sukhcharan Singh said he hopes work on the temple can begin soon… But Supervisor Dennis Nelson, who voted against the temple in 2003, did not rule out appealing Tuesday’s decision.

‘I think the law is incorrect,’ Nelson said about RLUIPA. ‘What we’ve got is a law that allows a church to build any place without consideration for adjoining landowners.'”

Yuba City Police Chief Apologizes to Sikh American Denied Employment

Source: Sikh American Legal and Defense Fund Press Release

Washington D.C.–March 7, 2007: The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization, received a formal letter of apology from Yuba City Police Chief Robert Doscher for denying employment to Mr. Harvir Singh Uppal as he sought to become a police cadet.

Mr. Uppal, a 19 year old student and adherent of the Sikh faith, was interviewed by Officer Kim Slade, Director of the Yuba City Police Department Cadet Program, for a position as a cadet. A week later, Mr. Uppal contacted Officer Slade to check the status of his application at which time he was informed upon conferring with the Chief of Police and the City Attorney that, “though the turban was acceptable, the beard does not conform to the uniform standards of the police department and it would have to be shaved off”.

SALDEF contacted Yuba City Police Chief Doscher and Mayor John Miller informing them of the discriminatory nature of this policy and recommended the necessary steps to remedy the situation quickly and to the satisfaction of Mr. Uppal.

In a letter of apology to SALDEF, Chief Doscher noted, “We [Yuba City Police Department] have no policy which precludes an employee of the Sikh faith from wearing a turban or beard (or possession of a kirpan) during their employment with us.” He added, “Please accept this as an unintentional oversight by one of my staff officers, which I take responsibility for.”

Yuba City Punjabi Mela Attended by Thousands

Source: SikhNet

On June 9, 2006 SikhNet reported, “What started off as an experiment way back in 1995 has evolved into one of California’s largest ticketed events. Held on the last Sunday of May, this fiesta is a much-awaited event and attended by people not only from the Yuba- Sutter area but also from neighboring states and Canada.

Northern California awoke to a sunny spring morning May 28. All roads led to Yuba City- a sleepy farming town about forty miles North of Sacramento. The Yuba Sutter fairground was buzzing with activity as the volunteers gave the final touches to the stage, the sound system, and the decorations.

People began to arrive early to avail the best parking spots. The stage program kicked off with the National Anthem and Shabad. What followed can, at best be described as the finest display of Punjab’s rich culture and heritage by about twenty Bhangra and Giddha groups. These groups comprised all ages- kids barely five years old to teenagers to grandmothers to grandfathers.”

Yuba City Punjabis, Sikhs Raise Funds for Victims of Katrina

Source: SikhNet News!OpenDocument

On September 12, 2005 SikhNet News reported, “[A] fundraising event [in Yuba City, California] organized by [the] Punjabi American Heritage Society (PAHS) raised $21000 and more donations are still coming. All proceeds from this event will be given to [the] local Chapter of [the] American Red Cross. [A] local restaurant, City Café, hosted this event… [which] was attended by about one hundred guests. Guests included Americans of all backgrounds. Individual donations ranged from $5 to $3200. PAHS also donated $500 to Mr. John Black, radio host of KUBA, [a] local radio station. He is driving [a] truckload of supplies to Houston to help displaced victims of [the] hurricane.”

Yuba City Sikh Family Honored as Sutter County Family of the Year

Source: Appeal-Democrat

On December 3, 2005 the Appeal-Democrat reported, “Faith, family and community are the central pillars around which the lives of the Dr. Paramjit S. Everest family revolve.

The focus earned them the title of Sutter County Family of the Year in ceremonies at River Valley High School in Yuba City… 51-year-old Everest, a dentist in the area… and his wife, Surinder K. Everest, have three children – daughters Amarpreet, 15, and Harkiren, 9, and son, Harpreet, 20. His parents, Hari S. Everest, 89, and Amar K. Everest, 81, live with the family in the Tierra Buena area at the west edge of Yuba City… Everest is a volunteer for the annual Hersey track meet, coaches basketball, helps out at the nearby Sikh Temple, is dental adviser to the area Headstart program and is a past president and founding member of the Punjabi-American Society… Surinder Everest is a part-time school teacher and has made it a point, along with her husband, to attend school, temple and community events family members are involved in.

A worker in the literacy program at the Sutter County Library, she said she encourages her children to do their best in everything they do for themselves, the family and the community.”

Yuba City Sikh Parade Commemorates 300th Anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Sikh Net

For the 29th straight year, Yuba City’s Sikh community will welcome Sikhs from all over the world to celebrate one of the holiest days on the Sikh calendar. The three-day event runs from October 31st through November 2nd and commemorates the receipt by Sikhs of the Guru Granth Sahib in 1708 as a perpetual spiritual guide that directs the Sikh faith.

“It is said that Guru Gobind Singh instructed his Sikhs to search for him within the Sacred Writings contained there, and to find enlightenment by meditating upon them”, said Kuldip Singh Atwal, Sikh Temple Secretary.

For many Sikhs, this isn’t a normal parade for them. “This is a celebration of our religion, our culture, and gratitude towards all our guru’s who lost their lives while believing and protecting our culture which is called Sikhism”, said Didar Singh Bains, President, Sikh Temple. The spirit of Guru Nanak will be felt throughout the weekend, which is: work hard and earn an honest living, pray and share your earnings with your fellow beings.

On Friday morning, October 31st, the day will begin with the traditional start of 48 hours of continuous readings of the Guru Granth Sahib, Nishan Sahib Sewa and then Paath of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Friday evening ends with a spectacular display of fireworks at the Sikh Temple Yuba City expected to be attended by more than 25,000 people. “It’s 30 minutes of non-stop fireworks”, said Karm Bains, Sikh Temple Director. “These are five-inch canister fireworks that are usually only seen at the top fireworks shows in the country”, added Bains.

Yuba City Sikhs Hold 26th Annual Parade

Source: Yahoo! News / PRWEB

On November 7, 2005 PRWEB reported, “Another near record crowd today, estimated at 60,000 people, continues to make the 26th Annual Sikh Parade in Yuba City one of the Valley’s largest religious and cultural celebrations. The weekend activities honor the receipt by Sikhs of their Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, in 1708, which they use as their spiritual guide.

The four and a half mile parade through the streets of Yuba City drew parade participants from throughout the West Coast. The parade featured floats and a procession of thousands of Sikhs walking with the floats. In the Sikh tradition, anyone is free to join in the parade at anytime. As the parade left the Sikh Temple Gurdwara grounds to circle the city, a helicopter dropped rose-petals on the parade spectators from above… As thousands continued to congregate at the Sikh Temple following the parade to enjoy the free food and entertainment, volunteers continued to serve free meals. By the time the weekend comes to an end tonight, more than 200,000 free meals will have been prepared and distributed at no charge. ‘The Sikh Temple Yuba City is open 365 days a year for anyone in need of a place to sleep or a meal,’ said Dilbag Singh Bains, Chairman, Sikh Parade. Sikhs consider it a privilege and honor to serve people that come to their Temple.”