14 April 2009


A Sikh brother from Florida who is a Vietnam vet, Fateh Singh, has written the below letter to the worldwide sangat. He suggests that we all write to top US Government officials, starting at the top with Pres. Barack Obama. Make them see that supporting the Sikh identity in the US military will actually strengthen the country, as well as uphold the freedom of religion that is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Take a good look at the Sikh soldiers. We are an impressive-looking bunch. And the Civil War pictures show not only have beards and long hair been accepted historically in the military, but men actually look much handsomer. After writing your letters, please go to and sign
the Sikh Coalition Petition.

From Fateh Singh:

Piare Khalsa Ji,

Once again the American military is trying to prohibit bearded and turbaned Sikh-Americans from serving their country in these troubled times. They say that there must be no beards and no conspicuous religious apparel worn in the military given the separation of church and state. This is not an explanation – it is an excuse. Yet, every few months there is another scandal regarding the promotion of Christianity at American military academies and at American military bases around the world. The turban is far less intrusive!

If only our political and military leaders would realize the contribution that Khalsa Sikh-Americans could make in terms of medical; legal; computer expertise, as well as a history of battlefield courage. If they did, narrow-minded policies might change!

We all have to get involved writing to our American leaders and educating them about Sikh history as well as American history. Look at what Sikhs have done as United Nations peacekeepers all over the world: from Lebanon to the Congo.

What a wonderful message our country would send to the world if and when Sikh-Americans are seen on patrol in places like Afghanistan. Moreover, seeing Sikh honor guards at the White House would make most real Americans quite proud of our commitment to diversity. Look at Canada, for example:

The world would see that America really does respect Eastern cultures and religions. One Sikh soldier in an American uniform would have a positive impact equivalent to an entire division!!!

Why no beard and long hair in the American military? It was only in the late 1800s that being clean-shaven became fashionable in America. This civilian fashion trend caught on in the military. Remember that we have had five bearded presidents and lest we forget, they were all commanders-in-chief of the American armed forces! In the American Civil War, officers and enlisted men on both sides were often bearded. Some of the greatest generals in that war had long hair and beards:

There is no evidence that facial hair or head hair ever interfered with military effectiveness!!!

Please write to:

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street
Washington, DC 20520

Dr. Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000