Washington: A new bipartisan American Sikh Congressional Caucus has been formed to educate US lawmakers and the general public about Sikh issues and support the American Sikh community that has often faced discrimination post 9/11.
Co-chaired by Democrat Judy Chu and Republican David Valadao, both House members from California, the caucus was joined by 28 members of Congress from both parties.
"More than a decade after 9/11, too many Sikhs across America face discrimination, bullying, and even bias-motivated violence from misguided individuals associating them with the terrorist attacks," said Chu announcing the formation of the caucus Tuesday.
"This caucus will be the voice for American Sikhs in the House of Representatives, working across the aisle to address the unique challenges that this community faces," she said.
Thanking members of Congress lending their voices to this cause, Chu said: "Together, we will preserve religious freedom, protect the safety of all people, and celebrate America's diversity."
"The Central Valley is home to more than 25,000 Sikhs, one of the largest Sikh populations in the United States," said Valadao.
"Sikhs have a very strong presence in our communities and have made great contributions to our society, he said.
The lawmakers noted that since 9/11 Sikh Americans have faced increased levels of discrimination and even violence from individuals who mistakenly believe they are associated with terrorist attacks on the US.
The caucus intends to address among other things military discrimination preventing American Sikhs from enlisting due to restrictive appearance regulations that ban turbans; violence and bullying faced by American Sikhs, racial profiling and employment discrimination.
Welcoming the formation of the caucus, Pritpal Singh, coordinator American Sikh Gurdwara Commiitee said it would give advocacy groups a platform to disseminate information to policymakers about significant issues affecting the Sikh community.