Community . US . IL . Chicago . Palatine Police

Palatine Police officers with officials of the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago. The officers visited the Gurudwara in Palatine to learn about the Sikh religion and culture as part of sensitivity training.

CHICAGO -- A group of police officers from Palatine visited the Sikh Religious Society's (SRS) Gurudwara in Palatine as part of their sensitivity training.

Raj Singh Mago took the group around the Gurudwara and answered their questions about it and about the Sikh religion.

"Is there any truth to the rumor that you always carry a knife in your turban?" asked one officer. "No, absolutely not," answered Mago with a smile. Another officer Kelly Poliquin wanted to know if Sikh weddings are always held in the Gurudwara.  Mago invited her to attend the next wedding ceremony there.

"The village has an increasingly diverse population and the police department felt the need for sensitivity training," said SRS president Kulwant Singh Hundal. The officers were shown a video and introduced to the basic tenets of Sikhism and the reasons behind the religiously mandated appearance of a practicing Sikh who is required to wear the five articles of faith: kesh, kangha, kara, kachhchra and kirpan. The significance of the unshorn hair, turban and the kirpan were also discussed.

Bhai Mohinder Singh, the head Granthi, displayed his kirpan and said, "the kirpan is not a concealed weapon but a symbol of courage, and the Sikh is mandated to wear one." Mago said that the first amendment of the United States Constitution guaranteed religious freedom. "We are law abiding citizens and this is our home, " he added.

Sgt. Randy Walker, commander of the visiting squad, told the hosts: "Now we are better informed to act more appropriately while responding to an emergency call or dealing with your community in general. This visit is greatly helpful in understanding your cultural and religious background."

The police officers were also told of the traditions of removing shoes, keeping the head covered and not carrying any smoking materials or intoxicant on the person while entering the Gurudwara.

They also sat in front of the Guru Granth Sahib to get a feel of the place of worship. One of them remarked that sitting on the floor cross-legged for an extended period of time was not an easy task. 


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