Faith

Maryland teachers attend 'official' seminar on this religion

A program in Montgomery County, Maryland, allows students of the Sikh religion to educate their teachers about the practice of the Sikh faith.

Sikhism, founded in the Punjab (a state in northern India) during the 15th century, is a monotheistic religion that stresses the importance of doing good actions. Sikhs have a scripture book and believe in treating everyone equally.

"The students have been teaching a sort of Sikhism 101 to their teachers at after-school events at their gurdwara -- a Sikh house of worship -- in North Potomac for four years," noted the Washington Post on April 26. "Last year, according to organizer Harminder Kaur, they won approval from the state of Maryland to get their free class to count as formal teacher training."

FAITH AND MILLENNIALS: BRINGING THEM BACK INTO THE FOLD

While there are roughly 25 million Sikhs worldwide, a small but growing number live in the United States. "[Sikh] members are often mistakenly identified as Muslim," according to the Pew Research Center.

"Alarmed by rising hate crimes targeting not only Sikhs but also other Indian Americans and other religious groups including Muslims and Jews, the Sikh community in America recently created a national TV ad in which people of all ages declare to the camera, 'We are Sikhs. We are Americans,'" the Post reported.

The Sikh students in Montgomery County have apparently been informing their teachers about bullying that targets Sikh students -- and educating others about a religion that is largely unknown in America. More than 200 teachers have participated.

Teachers even asked students questions about "what holidays Sikhs celebrate, and students complained that they've been marked down in class for missing school on holidays that their teachers have never heard of," noted the Post piece. The students plan to go national with this program.

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