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Allow Sikhs to wear turban, beard in NY Police Department

August 12, 2012 | By

New York/Ludhiana (August 12, 2012): As per information the Chief Financial Officer of New York City, Comptroller John C. Liu, has called on Mayor Bloomberg to reform NY Police Department (NYPD) policy to allow Sikh officers to serve without having to forsake their turbans and beards. In a letter to the Mayor, Comptroller Liu commended the Mayor for his words of comfort and support to the City’s Sikh community in the wake of the Wisconsin shootings, saying that now is the time for New York City to make a meaningful change of inclusion of Sikh members in the NYPD.

“Shouldn’t the NYPD, providing security in one of the most diverse cities in the world, proudly display its own diversity?” Comptroller Liu said in his letter today as funeral services were taking place for the six victims who were killed during the terror attack on the Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara.

United Sikhs and representatives of the NY Sikh community had a meeting with NYC Comptroller John C.Liu to discuss issues faced by the Sikh community, following the terror attack on the Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara on 5th August.

“It’s imperative for people to know that Sikhs are woven into the fabric of American society and are not the ‘other.’ One way to promote that is through increasing participation of Sikhs with turbans and beards in government jobs. We appreciate Comptroller Liu for taking the initiative to bring this up with the NYPD and assuring us of his continuous support” said Jasminder Kaur, Project manager of United Sikhs, who attended the meeting with Comptroller Liu on 9th August 2012.

Harpreet Singh Toor, Chairman of Public and External Affairs for the Sikh Cultural Society, said: “It is heartening to see that all of America came out to support the Sikh community in this time of tragedy, but as long as the systematic discrimination continues at the city, state, and federal levels, Sikhs will always feel themselves to be lesser Americans than others. Why, after living in this great country for more than 100 years, do we have to prove every time that we are as much American as anybody else?”

Rabbi David Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America, said: “As wonderful a job as the NYPD does in carrying out its awesome responsibilities, New York’s finest would be finer still if its membership reflected the full diversity of the beautiful mosaic that is New York City. Policies that have the effect of excluding members of certain faith communities because of their religious garb or grooming should be re-evaluated. I commend Comptroller Liu for raising this important issue.”

Comptroller Liu added, “We must eliminate all religious barriers to joining the NYPD. Religious men from all faiths, whether they are Sikhs or Orthodox Jews, should be able to serve the people of New York City.”

In Wisconsin, people congregated at the Wisconsin High School today to pay their final respects to the six Sikh community members who lost their lives in the Sikh Gurdwara terror attack on Aug 5th. Sikh prayers and hymns were sung and translated simultaneously during the funeral services.

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