Sikh Shabad & Invocation at Republican National ConventionalHEATHER TIMMONS
A Sikh shabad and invocation will be part of the schedule on Wednesday, August 29, 2012, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Floroda, USA.
Ishwar Singh, head of the Sikh Society of Central Florida, will give the invocation, according to the most recent schedule available.He will be accompanied by one or more granthis from the gurdwara for the singing of the shabad, he said.
Ishwar Singh said he was contacted by the party after the August 5 shooting at the gurdwara in Wisconsin that killed six people. The gunman, who was killed by the police, was an Army veteran and white supremacist.
Ishwar Singh said he thinks the Sikh-American vote is split. “I think you’re going to see everyone has their own opinion,” he said. “I won’t say we’re all Republicans or Democrats, you will see individuals like everywhere else.”
He moved to the United States in 1970 from Punjab to study biomedical engineering, and he has worked as an engineer for much of his life. He helps run a gurdwara in Orlando, Florida, which has about 300 families as members. After the August shooting, the gurdwara held an open house for the local community that drew almost 600 people, he said.
He said that anti-immigration elements of the Republican Party receive outsized attention. “The majority of people who I deal with today who are Republican are open-minded about everything, but there are some people who are rigid, who are vocal, who try to control the whole thing,” he said. “That can happen with any party.”
“There are a lot more diverse people in the United States who are open-minded then there used to be,” Ishwar Singh said of the changes he has seen since he immigrated. Thanks to mixed marriages and other factors, “the dynamics of the whole thing is changing,” he said.
Still, some Sikhs had not been expecting such an invitation. “I remain surprised,” Rupinder Mohan Singh wrote in a blog. “If this turns out to be the case, it would be a touching gesture in the wake of the Wisconsin shooting on behalf of the Republican Party to the country’s Sikhs and other minorities.”
At an Iowa fundraiser this month, Mitt Romney, who will formally receive the party’s presidential nomination this week, mistakenly referred to Sikhs as “sheiks” when speaking about the shooting. A spokesman said he had “mispronounced similar-sounding words” and that the mistake came at the end of a long day of campaigning.
[Courtesy: New York Times. Edited for sikhchic.com]
August 28, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Sunny Grewal (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), August 28, 2012, 5:55 PM.
Anyone else so amazed that they read the title twice?
2: Dr Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), August 29, 2012, 9:11 PM.