United Sikhs pledges to work with Obama
United Sikhs, the international UN affiliated, civil rights and humanitarian relief organisation, has written to the American president-elect Barack Obama pledging its support as part of the ‘citizen’s movement’ he believes he will need to effect change.
The letter is signed by United Sikhs’ president Kuldip Singh, who says the organisation, working for millions of Sikhs and other minorities globally, offers its prayers and support as Obama embarks on the enormous challenge of leading the United States of America, at a time of great challenges.
“We congratulate you on this momentous occasion, and we have high hopes of your administration,” he writes.
The letter continues: “Sikhs, through our principle of Sarbat da Bhalla, for the common good of all, support a broad moral agenda that includes a deep concern for poverty, peacemaking, ethics, equality, and respect for the environment. During the campaign, you said that, if elected, you would face powerful special interests trying to block change, and that you need a citizen’s movement to support and push you.
“Today, United Sikhs pledges to be part of that movement. It will be a movement that will seek social change, community empowerment, and protection of rights, but also hold you accountable to the things you promised. We urge you to give high priority to certain key issues, and we will support you in your efforts to:
- “Overcome poverty among unprivileged people in the United States and around the world. Your efforts to resolve the economic crisis must include those at the bottom, the poorest among us. You pledged during the campaign to mobilize the nation to cut domestic poverty in half in ten years and to implement the Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme global poverty in half.
- “Find better ways than war to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world. It is time to end war and work towards restoring peace through policies and dialogues. We need better and intelligent foreign policy that is more consistent with our best national values.
- “Promote consistent ethics for all. We must end genocide, mass murder, enforced disappearances, the use of torture, stop secret and unlawful detentions, and the death penalty. We urge you to pursue common ground policies which help bring us together on this divisive issue.
- “Protect religious freedom post 9/11. The world has been gripped by fear since 9/11, which has affected religious minorities, such as the Sikhs, who have suffered attacks on their right to wear their articles of faith at airports, during flights, in schools, at the workplace and in other public places. We turn to you to reverse this tide by turning the clocks back on fear through positive legislation and policies both in the USA and through your foreign policy.
- “Prevent Profiling and Hate Crimes. Despite the Hate Crime Statistics Act, signed into law in 1990, to make hate crimes a federal offence in the USA, these crimes appear to be continuing in the new millennium. We urge you to construct prevention strategies to protect immigrants and ethnically diverse people of the USA and globally through your supportive foreign policy.
- “Reverse the effects of climate change. We need a spiritual commitment to stewardship and national policies that promote safe, clean, and renewable energy. You spoke of job creation and economic renewal with a new ‘green economy’.
“We pray for you and the United States of America. We need your presidential leadership for the transformation of our society, but we promise also to do our part.”
United Sikhs has a powerful voice in the US, working from its New York headquarters, but also maintains offices in India, Malaysia, Ireland, France and Canada.
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