Imagine that you have no gurudwara in your area to worship in and the sangat uses a makeshift manufactured house as an impromptu gurudwara. The nearest gurudwara is more than 100 miles (120 km) away. Then you all get together, raise money and after many difficulties actually get your new gurudwara built. At last, you have a real, permanent home for Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj Then someone in your town manages to get the government to issue an order to demolish the gurudwara you love and have worked so long and hard to build. How would you feel? What would you do? An small congregation in Austin, Texas, is facing this bleak situation.
Today, I am both sad and angry. Who would want to tear down the only gurudwara within 100 miles, legally built, unobtrusive? Evidently some of the good citizens of Austin, Texas, USA. Jasleen Kaur who was instrumental in getting this gurudwara built sent me an e-mail which says, in part,
We're currently raising money to take this to the state supreme court, but it will be an expensive battle.
it is heart breaking, literally. all i can do is encourage the sangat to keep us in their ardaas and do as many chaupai sahib paath as they can for our victory.Our sisters and brothers in Austin, Texas, USA need our help. Will we stand with them and help them to overcome this obstacle? They need our prayers and our donations to fight the legal battle in the Texas Supreme Court. With the help of the worldwide Saadh Sangat and the kirpaa of Vaheguru, this is a battle that will be won!
Please go to their website Save The Austin Gurudwara and donate whatever you can. Please be generous.
Here is the Austin Gurudwara Sahib as it stands today...
None of us wants to see this:
The article says: "Sikhs around the world and shocked, saddened, and flabbergasted by such an unjust ruling." I would like to amend that to "people of goodwill of any faith - or no faith - around the world..." I have said that this blog has a world-wide readership. This would be a good time to speak up. Even if you cannot send a donation, please send a word of encouragement to AustinGurdwara@gmail.com.
Here is the article about this from the Free Press:
Austin. July 16, 2010Sikhs are shocked and outraged at a ruling by a Texas Court of Appeals ordering that the only Sikh Temple (Gurudwara) in Austin, Texas be torn down.
Austin Gurdwara Sahib (AGS), a non-profit, Sikh organization purchased land in West side of the Greater Austin area in 2003 to start the first permanent Gurudwara in the Capital City. For years, religious services were hosted weekly in a manufactured home located on the property. In 2005, to improve the facilities, AGS, with the congregation’s support, decided to build a more contemporary building. In this regard, AGS applied for, and was granted, all the necessary permits from the city. The approval process from the city included meetings with Planning & Zoning committees as well as the City Council at large. AGS also met with and provided full disclosure to the neighborhood association.
The construction commenced in late 2007, and the members of the Austin Sikh community celebrated laying the initial foundation stone of the first Sikh temple of its kind in Austin. However, the festive mood came to an abrupt stop immediately after the foundation had finished in Feb 2008, when the Bolliers filed for an injunction against the construction. John and wife Leslie, who is an attorney, were relative newcomers to the neighborhood arriving about 3 years after AGS had been using its property for religious services. Citing to the deed restrictions, the Bolliers argued vehemently against the construction of the Sikh Temple on the grounds that it would be an eye-sore and a traffic magnate, and would lower their property’s value.
By agreement, AGS and the Bolliers agreed to cease construction until the issue was resolved by the trial court. In March 2009, the case was heard by Honorable Judge Susan Covington in the 353rd Judicial District in Travis County Texas. Over the course of several days, the court heard evidence presented by both sides, and rendered an informed decision denying Bollier’s request for an injunction and further ordered them to pay 80% of the associated court costs. In fact, the plantiff, Leslie Bollier, was cited for inequitable conduct in connection with the AGS use of the property.
After the trial court’s favorable ruling, AGS proceded to complete the Temple construction over the next few months. Meanwhile, not satisfied with the trial court’s decision, Bolliers filed an appeal. In July 2010, months after the construction of the Temple was complete, the Appellate Court reversed the lower court’s ruling. In fact, it went so far as to order the completed structure to be torn down! Sikhs around the world and shocked, saddened, and flabbergasted by such an unjust ruling.
The AGS intends to vigorously appeal and ask the court to reconsider its decision. A website www.SaveGurudwara.com is being set up to provide updates on the matter as well as to collect donations for the legal fight.
Press Release issued by: Austin Gurdwara Sahib, 5104 Avispa Way, Austin TX 78738 Email: AustinGurdwara@Gmail.com.