Few Wisconsin residents were familiar with the Sikh religion until six worshippers were gunned down in their temple in Oak Creek in August 2012.
Dr. Martyn Smith will speak about the Sikh religion, its tenets and observances, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy and sponsored by Patricia Hollenbeck, his presentation is free and open to the public.
Smith, who spoke to Winchester Academy in 2008 about Islam in America, is an associate professor of religious studies at Lawrence University.
He will present an outline of the religion, then consider the history of Sikhism and how it is related to other faith traditions, using images gathered at the Sikh Temple in Appleton.
The religion was founded over 500 years ago in Punjab of South Asia, an area now divided between India and Pakistan. The name, Sikh, is a Punjabi word meaning “disciple.”
Like Jews, Moslems and Christians, Sikhs believe in one God. Sikhism, however, preaches complete equality of all people, races and genders. Women, for example, can participate in any religious function or perform any Sikh ceremony.
Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with a population upwards of 30 million worldwide. There are an estimated 250,000 Sikhs in the United States having first arrived in the late 19th century.
The final program for the 2013 fall series will be the following week, on Monday, Nov. 18. UW-Marathon Professor Brett Barker will present “He is the Best of Us: Why Abraham Lincoln Remains Our Greatest President.”
For more information, go to winchesteracademywaupaca.org or contact executive director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927.