WASHINGTON — President Bush sent greetings to America's Sikhs as they celebrate the birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of their faith.
"America is strengthened by the rich cultural and religious diversity of its people," the president said in his message, according to a statement from the Sikh Council on Religion and Education. "By preserving your customs and sharing your loving and compassionate faith, Sikhs contribute to America's vibrant spiritual foundation."
Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council, said in a statement that the presidential message "is very assuring and healing, particularly at this time when many Sikhs have felt insecure in the aftermath of [the] Sept. 11 tragedy."
Sikhs, with their distinctive dress, became targets of attacks in several parts of the country after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The presidential greeting "validates our belief that America remains a country where immigrants are accepted and where their religious beliefs are not only tolerated but respected," the Sikh leader said.