US-based Sikhs urge Obama to visit gurudwaras in Pak next year

Sikh community in the US now wants President Barack Obama to visit gurudwaras in Pakistan when he visits the country next year.

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2010, 11:54 AM IST

Washington: Disappointed, but determined not
to give up, the Sikh community in the US now wants President
Barack Obama to visit gurudwaras in Pakistan when he visits
the country next year, after Amritsar`s Golden Temple was not
included in his India trip in November.

"With the White House`s confirmation of President Obama`s
visit to Pakistan in 2011, we want to implore the President to
visit Sikh places of worship on that trip," `United Sikhs`, a
US-based Sikh organisation, said in a statement, urging the
American Sikh community to mobilise support in this regard.
"United Sikhs is disappointed that President Obama will
not be visiting Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) on his trip to
India next month," it said.

Although the community feels "disheartened" by this
decision, United Sikhs will actively encourage the US
President to visit Sikh places of worship in America and
abroad, it said.

In a press briefing yesterday on Obama`s India visit
from November 6 to 9, White House Deputy National Security
Adviser for Strategic Communication, Ben Rhodes, said: "It`s a
big country where we`d like to do a lot of things."

"It`s an extraordinary country and we can never do as
many events as we`d like to do," he said.

During his November trip to Asia, the President has
planned visits to Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim places of
worship, he said. Rajwant Singh, the Chairman of the Sikh Council on
Religion and Education, also said that this is "disappointing"
that President Obama will not visit the Golden Temple.

"Three months ago I had proposed this visit by President
Obama to the Golden Temple only for spiritual reasons.

President Obama has a genuine desire to promote and foster
religious understanding and interfaith dialogue," he said.

I J Singh, a Sikh writer and commentator on contemporary
Sikh affairs, said "it is now confirmed that President Obama
has decided to forgo his opportunity to go to Harmandar Sahib
(Golden Temple) in Amritsar..."

The White House says Amritsar was never on Obama`s
itinerary.

PTI