No headscarf, Obama may skip Golden Temple visit
US President Barack Obama’s visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar is likely to be called off after a ticklish question on what he should use to cover his head put his aides in a tight spot. Moreover, a packed schedule in Mumbai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s plan to host a dinner for Obama on November 7 left a very narrow window for Amritsar.
But it was the first question which created more doubt — what should Obama use to cover his head when he visits the Golden Temple?
The White House team which visited India last month ruled out Obama wearing the traditional scarf on his head. Indian officials were informally told that Obama wearing a headscarf to visit the Golden Temple may convey an image of him appearing to be a Muslim. This is one misinterpretation Obama’s advisors did not want at any cost, given the political sensitivities over this issue in the US.
As a result, a final decision on whether Obama would visit the Golden Temple was always kept pending. An American official is said to have explained at one of the pre-visit meetings that each day Obama has to remind the US that he should not be mistaken for a Muslim just because his middle name is Hussain. For this reason, considerable thought was being given to what Obama could wear without offending Sikh sentiments.
Obama’s aides finally came up with the idea of a “modified” baseball cap. It would have to be modified because the Golden Temple does not permit a baseball cap instead of a headscarf. In fact, the temple authorities have no problems with skull caps.
Obama, who arrives here on November 6, will first touch down in Mumbai, where he plans to visit a 26/11 memorial and Mani Bhawan, where Mahatma Gandhi used to stay. He was then scheduled to go to Amritsar for this brief and only religious engagement in the itinerary.
Please visit Golden temple too -- US Sikhs urge Obama
20 Sep 2010
Washington: The small but influential Sikh community in the US has expressed joy at reports that President Barack Obama may visit their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, during his visit to India in November.
"We are confident that after Obama's visit to the Golden Temple, the US residents would come to know about the Sikhs and Sikhism in a better way," said Rajwant Singh, chairman of Sikh Council on Religion and Education.
"This visit will help remove misunderstanding about Sikhs in America and many of the difficulties Sikhs face due to mistaken identity and security barriers," he said.
In a letter to the White House in July, Singh had proposed that the US President visit the holiest and highest shrine at the centre of Sikhism in Amritsar.
"Obama's visit will be a wonderful gesture since it is a symbol of interfaith understanding," he had said in his letter to the White House, noting the foundation stone of the temple was laid by a Muslim saint and it was constructed by Hindus and Sikhs.
On Wednesday, a special US team conducted a security survey in Amritsar district.
"A six-member team had come to Amritsar to conduct recce as President Barack Obama is expected to visit India in November. They inspected various tourist spots, important roads and Sikh shrines in the district today (Wednesday)," KS Pannu, Amritsar's deputy commissioner of police, said.
Re: No headscarf, Obama may skip Golden Temple visit
Golden Temple visit: Obama can wear cap, says SGPC
20 Oct 2010
New Delhi; A day after US President Barack Obama dropped the Amritsar's Golden Temple visit from his itinerary during his forthcoming visit to India, Siromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the nodal body of the Sikhs says, Obama doesn't have to wear a headscarf.
But will the US President stop over at Amritsar now?
The SGPC, the nodal body of the Sikhs has dismissed the matter, saying its not mandatory with citing earlier visits of Queen Elizabeth and other leaders to Amritsa. The SGPC said Obama could wear a cap if he wished so.
"Previously the non-Sikh visitors, who have come to Golden Temple, like Queen Elizabeth wore a hat and nobody objected to that. Cap or hat is only prohibited for the Sikhs; they cannot visit the Golden Temple wearing a cap or a hat. For non-Sikhs, there are no restrictions like those," said Member of Siromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committeee Kiran Jot Kaur.
obama's cap's wearing style -