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A Mexican Sikh

Sat Siri Akal,

Xalapa is located in Veracruz state, Mexico. There are 391,000 people living in that city. Only three persons wear turbans there, that's me and my two kids (12 and 4 years old). I have two jobs like most Mexican people, both as a web designer in the local government and in a newspaper. I converted to Sikhi 12 years ago while I was a student.

Everyday I hear people yelling at me (osama, aladdin and many many others). I really don't care 'cause I'm sure what I am. Everyday people ask about my turban and my beard. To me, is completely normal, part of my routine.

Things turned a little ugly right after September 11th, some people stare at us and you can see the fear in there eyes, we just smile and act normally. My oldest son is about to finish his "primary school" (as we call it here), he wears a patka everyday and his friends, of course, are non Sikhs. But they accept him as he is, the patka is very normal to them. We have had little problems with teachers, and parents. But we solve it by talking calmly and educating.

Next September he will go to the "secondary school" and will face a whole new environment; new friends, new teachers. Here in Mexico, if you want to study in a good government secondary school you have to have some requirements like good notes, your papers in completely order and pass a test. So you have to make a line since 5:00 in the morning outside the school and if you are lucky enough, you will get a "ticket" at 12:00. That "ticket" is extremely important; without it, you are not allowed to fill your test.

So, we made that line, we stand out there for seven hours like everybody else, but my son didn’t get his "ticket". Why? 'cause he wears a turban. We lost the whole morning there for nothing. We tried to explain about Sikh religion, but they didn't listen. So we went to the State Human Rights and explained the situation. "You have to call National Human Rights" they said. We call, and then faxed a complaint.

After three weeks we received their answer: "go to State Human Rights". You see, here the things are completely different. We don't have a Gurdwara or community to go to. The nearest Gurdwara is five hours away. No body else is Sikh here. The authorities don't care, for them, there is no problem. It's so easy, he just had to remove his turban and cut his hair.

We don't want that, so we will keep looking for somebody to help us and will fight for our right to be Sikh.

You are so lucky; you have each other there, wherever you are. You have Gurdwaras, you have a Sangat to go with. Your children are able to see more turbans, not only their own.

I’m happy I found this forum, by reading your posts I feel kind of close to you all and feel I'm part of a community. I hope you value each other and get aware of all the blessings you have.

See you later.

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa! Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!!

Taken from Sikhnet