The Golden Temple( Harimandir Sahib ) in Amritsar, India is a religious site for Sikhs equivalent to the Western Wall for Jews in Israel or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Christians.
Aside from its symbolism to 28 million Sikhs, it's a major tourist attraction that has been visited by a number of celebrities and world leaders, from Queen Elizabeth to Canadian PM Stephen Harper.Most Indians look on it as a cherished national symbol.
But President Barack Hussein Obama is going to give it a miss when he travels to India after the midterm elections...because Obama is not willing to cover his head while in the Temple, as the Sikh tradition requires.Or so the White House says:
Now, most non-Sikh visitors to the Golden Temple simply tie on kerchiefs conveniently sold by vendors outside. And obviously Obama has no problem covering his head (or,bowing, for that matter) when he wants to. So what's going on here?
If you look at some history, there has been historic animosity between Muslims and Sikhs since the days of the Muslim jihad against India. The Sikhs fought successfully against the Muslim Mughal empire after the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed by the Muslims after refusing to convert to Islam, and many Sikhs were killed during the violence surrounding the partition of India in 1947. The animosity continues to the present day.
It's obvious that for someone who either is a Muslim or who is extraordinarily concerned with appeasing Islam and Muslim sensibilities, a visit to the Golden Temple might be a problem.
I'm pretty sure that's why Obama is giving the Golden Temple a miss. Islam must be appeased at all costs, and insulting the Sikhs and the Indians comes second.
Remember when we were told how much Barack Obama was going to improve America's foreign relations?