Religious Diversity News

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Young Sikh Nominated For Congressional Youth Leadership Council

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Sikh Network!OpenDocument

As he was cherishing the state level recognition in Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP) for outstanding performers at seventh grade level and a rare opportunity to participate in International Relations program at the Ivy League institute, Angad Singh got another pleasant surprise. He was nominated by his school to represent Georgia at the National Young Leaders State Conference (NYLSC).

The NYLSC who board of advisors include several US Senators and House Representatives, brings exceptional middle to high school age students across the Nation to an interactive leadership program. Past distinguished speakers of the conferences include White House Counsel to the President, Attorney Generals and several Secretaries of the US departments.

The NYLSC nominations require outstanding scholastic achievements and demonstrated leadership potential. Angad’s Math Teacher at Northwestern Middle School, Mr. Brian Jackson who nominated Angad said “Of all the 7th grade students I have known over the years, Angad is one of the most mature, thoughtful, and intelligent young people I have had the experience to know. I believe that we have the responsibility to give all kids an opportunity to be leaders, but also the ones who are leaders need to continue to work on and improve their own skills, so that they may be even better leaders.”

Young Sikh Professionals Meet at Georgetown

Source: Sikh Council on Religion and Education

On July 26, 2005 the Sikh Council on Religion and Education reported, “Young Sikh professionals met in the nation’s capital from July 24th to July 26th at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., to engage in a dialogue with representatives from the Government, Congress, and Civil Rights, Interfaith and Community Organizations to explore the meaning of Sikhism in their own lives and in relation to the broader community. Over 120 participants from across America and Canada gathered under the title of Washington Sikh Leadership Conference, sponsored and hosted by The Sikh Council on Religion and Education, providing them the opportunity to network with their peers. The workshops and panel discussions through out the two-day conference were appropriately designed under the theme of the conference, which was ‘Building Community Through Personal, Professional and Social Transformation.'”

Young Sikh Student Promotes Cancer Awareness

Source: Sikh News Network

The Shade Foundation of America was founded by Mrs. Schilling, wife of Red Sox Pitcher, Curt Schilling after her successful battle with melanoma. The foundation is dedicated to preventing melanoma through the education of children and the community in the prevention and detection of skin cancer and the promotion of sun safety. It sponsors an annual “Sunwise Poster Contest” for school children.

Gurbani Kaur, Grade 6, [was] the winner for the State of Ohio. She used cute frogs to promote the messages for skin cancer awareness.

Young Sikh Woman Honored by Newsweek

Source: SikhNet News/

On July 3, 2006 SikhNet News/ reported, “Benita Singh, an Indian American, has been honoured by Newsweek for helping disadvantaged women. In 2003 Benita Singh visited Guatemala to research her Yale University senior year thesis. The Long Island, New York-born Singh wanted to study how women, especially in rural communities, were recovering from the traumas of war… [I]n the village of San Alfonso in Guatemala, Singh was amazed that people did not ask her for money. ‘The only thing they asked for, was for us to buy their bags and their jewellery,’ Singh, 23, says.

‘I realised these women may be victims of trauma, but more importantly they are actually entrepreneurs,’ adds Singh, youngest daughter of India-born Sikh parents. Her father works for a customs brokerage company and her mother is a lawyer, who founded a charity called Children’s Hope. ‘They (the women of San Alfonso) were a motivation for me to become an entrepreneur.’

Last week Singh and her Yale colleague Ruth Degolia, 24, were honoured by Newsweek magazine with its first Giving Back Awards in recognition of people who devote themselves to helping others.

The two were singled out in the under-25 category for starting a non-profit organisation, Mercado Global. Launched in 2004, Mercado has organised 18 co-operatives in remote rural areas of Guatemala. The products from the co-operatives, shawls, bags and jewellery, are sold at marked up prices to high-end stores in the U.S. and through e-commerce.

Profits generated are rolled back to the communities in Guatemala to build schools and educate young girls. And this year Mercado is sending computers to each community for the women to manage their record keeping.”

Young Sikh Woman Serves U.S. National Guard in Kabul

Source: The Times of India

On May 16, 2006 The Times of India reported, “She donned an M-16 rifle on her shoulders when she was 17. At 20, she is patrolling the streets of Kabul.

Meet Indian-born Ranbir Kaur of US National Guards who first hit headlines in 2003 after becoming the first Sikh girl to join the US armed forces that consists of over 2,00,000 women soldiers.

Presently on active duty in Afghanistan, Kaur is attached with the 315th SECFOR and is on one-and-a-half-year mission in the war-torn country.

Born in Nijjran village of Jalandhar district, the young warrior reached the US as a seven-year-old after her father Mahan Singh, pursuing dollar dreams, secured a green card in 1990.

Brought up in an isolated burg Earlimart in California, her fling with the uniform dates back to 2001 when she was a freshman (Grade IX) in high school at Delano, the closest city from their isolated residence.

‘I would see army, marines, air force and the navy standing outside the career centre of the school distributing fliers to students. I thought the uniform was awesome,’ she said.

This daughter of a Jat Sikh grape grower, in 2003, was condemned by white supremacists who posted spam e-mails terming her recruitment as a way to seek citizenship. Already a US citizen by then, the young girl had dubbed her detractors wrong through hard training and taking all challenges in her stride.

‘If death doesn’t deter me, nothing else does,’ she told [the Times of India] in an exclusive interview. ‘I was so upset earlier that I asked myself, that did I join the forces for this treatment? But then, I’m me and I do what I got to do.'”

Young Sikhs Attack Older Sikhs at Leamington Gurdwara

Source: icCoventry–name_page.html

On November 14, 2005 icCoventry reported, “Warwickshire MP today described how he was caught up in a horrifying attack at a Sikh temple club.

Six men needed hospital treatment and dozens more were injured, including Warwick and Leamington MP James Plaskitt.

The attackers even used a camcorder to record their attack.

Mr Plaskitt was a guest at a Diwali party being held in a social club at the side of the Gurdwara Sahib temple in Leamington… Mr Singh, of Heathcote, Warwick, suffered a broken cheekbone and needed four stitches to his face after he was hit by a chair.

His daughter Narinder Sanghera, a pharmacist, said: ‘Dad believes these rioters were under the impression that alcohol was being drunk in the temple when in fact that was completely untrue. They were eating and drinking in the social club which is a totally separate building.’

A 47-year-old man from Coventry has been arrested in connection with the incident.”

Young Thai monks in MD

Source: The Dallas Morning News

On September 12, 2003 The Dallas Morning News reported that “in front of a table topped with gold-wrapped gifts, and before a crowd of 100 eager Buddhists, seven boys await holiness. Gary Chanyasubkit, 12, looks up at the ceiling. Anton Nguyen, 11, yawns. Alec Chanthaboun, 9, and Nate Sripinyo, 11, make faces and giggle. All seven boys – soon-to-be novice monks and the pride of the local Thai-American community – slouch on their folding chairs. At the front of the room in the Wat Thai temple, a saffron-robed monk smiles with optimism. The rite of passage that the boys are about to undertake is common among boys in Thailand, and there’s no reason to believe that these Americans of Thai descent won’t be able to handle it, the monk says. Thais believe that monks are Buddha’s earthly representatives, and for a boy to live like a monk, even if it’s just for 10 days, is to help his parents go to heaven…A while later, the little monks will return – but, perhaps, not entirely – to their former young lives. “

Young Tibetan Monk Speaks About “Diluting” of Buddhist Culture by Chinese

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On August 25, 2004 The Christian Science Monitor ran a feature article on a young Tibetan Buddhist monk and his views on the political and spiritual situation of Tibetan Buddhists under Chinese rule, “Today, I tell him, officials here said that most Tibetans have abandoned their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the hope that he will return. Is this true? Khenpo is very clear about both the Dalai Lama and what he feels is a major crisis for the future of Tibet. His point confirms what other Tibetans have told journalists: Chinese are diluting traditional Buddhist culture and the monks’ role. ‘They are coming like a flood,’ he says. ‘The politics, the jobs, the population – everything is Chinese. My friends can’t find a job. Chinese is the only thing you hear on TV or radio. We are losing our culture, and we don’t need the Dalai Lama to tell us this. It is what we are experiencing. It is getting to the point that we can’t recognize what is Tibetan anymore.’ As for the Dalai Lama, Khenpo says, ‘We love him…. We can’t say so, but it is what we think. We keep him in our hearts. We don’t speak his name in public, but we speak of him at home. We will always want him to return.'”

Young U.S. Imams Found Seminary, Reach Out to Younger Generation

Source: The New York Times

On June 18, 2006 The New York Times reported, “Every seat in the auditorium at the University of Houston was taken, and the crowd was standing in the back and spilling out into the lobby, straining to hear… Sheik Hamza Yusuf, in a groomed goatee and sports jacket, looked more like a hip white college professor than a Middle Eastern sheik. Imam Zaid Shakir, a lanky African-American in a long brown tunic, looked as if he would fit in just fine on the streets of Damascus.

Both men are converts to Islam who spent years in the Middle East and North Africa being mentored by formidable Muslim scholars. They have since become leading intellectual lights for a new generation of American Muslims looking for homegrown leaders who can help them learn how to live their faith without succumbing to American materialism or Islamic extremism….Most American mosques import their clerics from overseas, some who preach extremism, some who cannot speak English, and most who cannot begin to speak to young American Muslims growing up on hip-hop and in mixed-sex chat rooms. Mr. Yusuf, 48, and Mr. Shakir, 50, are using their clout to create the first Islamic seminary in the United States, where they hope to train a new generation of imams and scholars who can reconcile Islam and American culture…The seminary is still in its fledgling stages, but Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir have gained a large following by being equally at home in Islamic tradition and modern American culture.” For more information on Yusuf and Shakir’s seminary, called the Zaytuna Institute, visit the school’s website at