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Friday, September 12, 2008

Festival raises awareness about Sikh culture

The entrance sign to the Sikh temple in Fairfield was damaged by bullets so often, members finally decided to let it be.

"We used to change the sign, but haven't done it for more than a year," said Gurpreet Dhugga. "Our mission isn't accomplished yet."

That "mission" is to educate a public that - ever since 9/11 - sees a turban and thinks terrorist.

"We need to educate people about the Punjabi culture," Dhugga said. "There's a lot of ignorance about this."

The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and subsequent bigotry led Dhugga and a few others to start the Punjabi Heritage Festival. More than 2,000 visitors attended last year's program and Dhugga expects at least that many Saturday for the encore presentation of entertainment, education and enlightening activities at the fairgrounds.

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