What to know about Sikhism, the faith of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019
What to know about Sikhism, the faith of Deputy Dhaliwal
What to know about Sikhism, the faith of Deputy Dhaliwal

A Harris County deputy murdered during a traffic stop is being remembered as a trailblazer as he was the first Sikh in Texas to wear his turban while on duty.

Along with the turban, Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal also wore a beard, blending the articles of his Sikh religion with his uniform.

The turban identified Dhaliwal as a Sikh and symbolized his dedication to service.

In 2015, the sheriff's office held a ceremony for Dhaliwal, announcing that he would be able to wear his beard and turban, or dastaar, when in full uniform.

Dhaliwal wanted to raise awareness in the community about his religion.

Sikhism is a monotheistic faith founded more than 500 years ago in the Indian region of Punjab. It has roughly 27 million followers worldwide, most of them in India.

Guru Nanak is the founder. The religion's teachings are based on his teachings and nine other Sikh gurus who followed him.

It is also the world's fifth-largest religion.

There are more than 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S.

In the Sikh religion, men and women do not cut their hair; they cover their head with turbans. The men refrain from shaving their beards. The articles of faith for both men and women also include kara (a steel bracelet), kirpan (a religious sword), kachha (undershorts) and kanga (a comb), according to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Kesh is uncut hair.

The articles of faith represent a Sikh's commitment to equality, service and justice.

A Sikh's house of worship is called a gurdwara. In Houston, Dhaliwal attended Sikh National Center.

A law enforcement ceremony and a Sikh religious ceremony will be held for Dhaliwal on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Berry Center in Cypress.

After the ceremonies, the deputy will be cremated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.