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Sikhism - The Sikh Religion


Proud Young Sikhs Americans

Proud Young Sikhs Americans

Photo © [Kulpreet Singh]


Sikhism is an English term commonly used to represent the Sikh religion. The Sikh word for the Sikh faith is Sikhi.

Sikhism is a belief in one creative being known as Ik Onkar, adherence to the teachings of ten gurus, and allegiance to Sikhism's holy scripture, Guru Granth, the everlasting guru of the Sikhs.

Sikhism does not believe in proselytizing or forced conversion. The Sikh faith promotes honesty and integrity, defending the weak, and sharing with the less fortunate.

Sikhism originated with Guru Nanak in 1469, and has grown to be the fifth largest religion, with 26 million Sikhs in existence around the world. Sikhism spread to the United States in the late 1800's.

  • 1897 Sikhs, mostly unmarried men, first immigrate to the United States. For 27 years, strict immigration laws prevent Sikh men from bringing their families to the US. Sikhs are unable purchase or own land and have difficulty getting work legally.
  • 1912 Sikhs erect the first US gurdwara in Stockton California.
  • 1915 Sikh populations dwindle. Most Sikh men have either returned to Punjab or married Mexican women. Immigration laws deny Sikhs US citizenship because of race.
  • 1940s Immigration laws change and Sikhs are granted citizenship.
  • 1965 Immigration laws relax. Sikhs begin steadily immigrating and building hundreds of gurdwaras all around the United States.
  • 1970's Interested Americans begin to convert to Sikhism
  • 1984 Tensions in Punjab (India) result in a growing number of Sikhs seeking political asylum and amnesty in the US.
  • 2001 Sikhs experience a backlash of 911 related bias incidents arising from misunderstanding of Sikh Religion and culture.
In addition to a growing population of Sikh immigrants, a steady number of Americans continue to convert to Sikhism. New gurdwaras are being built. An estimated one million people residing in the United States practice Sikhism.


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Pronunciation: Sikh - ism (i sounds like i in sick) (kh is aspirated - hold hand in front of lips to feel a puff of air when speaking)

Also Known As: Sikhi

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