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US court orders man to attend Sikh parade, learn about faith after ‘hate crime’

US court orders man to attend Sikh parade, learn about faith after ‘hate crime’
An Oregon man was told to go to a religious-themed parade and learn more about Sikhism as part of his sentence for a hate crime. He was convicted after ripping off a shopkeeper’s turban during an argument.

On Friday, Marion County Circuit Judge Lindsay Partridge ordered a local man, Andrew Ramsey, to attend an annual parade hosted by the Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple in Salem, local media reported.

Ramsey had earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree intimidation, which is a hate crime under Oregon law. In January, he got into an argument with an Indian-born convenience store owner because he refused to sell him cigarettes without showing an ID. Ramsey ripped the turban off the man’s head and pulled his beard, while punching and kicking him.

The victim, who was a Sikh, explained to the court that the turban and the beard are sacred symbols of his faith, and having the turban removed by Ramsey was “one of the worst” things that could ever happen to him.

The judge now hopes that attending a Sikh event will help the convict to respect other religions. After the parade, Ramsey will have to report to the court on what he has learned.

“Bigotry is the result of ignorance,” the judge said. “All of us are able to learn and benefit from cultures in our community.”

The man was also sentenced to 180 days in prison (a bulk of which he has already served) and three years’ probation. He was told to undergo mental health, drug and alcohol treatment as well.

Sikhism originated in India in the end of the 15th century. Under its key articles of faith, men are required not to cut their hair and wear a turban, known as a dastar.

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