Sikhism is a monotheistic faith founded more than 500 years ago in South Asia. It has about 27 million followers worldwide, most of whom live in India. There are about 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S.
Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often wear turbans — which are considered sacred — and refrain from shaving their beards.
Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak Dev and follows the teachings of a series of gurus.
" 'Guru' means a leader who takes a person from darkness to light, meaning from ignorance to knowledge," said Surinderpal Singh Karla, a delegate of the World Sikh Council and a congregant of a Sikh temple in suburban Chicago.
The Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, "teaches that God is there for everybody, and we are all his sons and daughters," Karla said.