Sikh Community in Southern California

April 15, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On April 15, 2000, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the growth of the Sikh community in Southern California. Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, which was built in 1983 as a two-room house to accommodate 80 worshipers, is now a 3.5-acre complex that serves as many as 400 people in Buena Park, CA, including a school, a library, a worship hall, and a community kitchen. This growth has come with an increased demand to address the lack of traditional values held by Sikh youth. Amarjit Singh Dhillon, president of Guru Nanak Temple and the 10-temple Federation of Sikh Gurdwaras of Southern California, stated: "Sixty to 70% of our young people are coming under the influence of Western culture because we did not have these kinds of institutions before." Gurinder Singh Mann, professor of Sikh studies at UC Santa Barbara, spoke of the challenges Sikhs are confronting regarding passing on tradtional religious practices in the United States setting: "In Punjab, you breathe and absorb the religion; there was no need to talk about these issues...But now there is a clear need to tell young people and mainstream American society what is really the Sikh belief system."