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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Haters, fascists see everyone as potential enemy, target

Underlying issues in attack on Sikhs
August 8, 2012, The Guardian, UK─ Why are Sikhs targeted by anti-Muslim extremists?
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

“We are not Muslims”? 

The reporter asks, “Is there a danger, that in trying to differentiate themselves from Muslims (there have been historical tensions between some Sikhs and Muslims), Sikhs are themselves contributing to Islamophobia?” 

The joint secretary of Unite against Fascism, Sabby Dhalu, responds:  

It does happen and it is dangerous…. When I put the argument to people, a lot of them agree with me in opposing Islamophobia and the need to work with Muslims. It is all the more reason for the decent majority to speak out. 

Wisconsin: example of larger, deeper, more entrenched issue 

The Turban Campaign is a group that tries to counter negative reporting of the Sikh community. Its co-founder Varinder Singh, spoke with the Guardian reporter.  

“Racism,” Varinder Singh told the Guardian, “has always existed, but certainly September 11 [2001] didn’t help. It created a suspicion of the Sikh community, particularly because of the appearance of the male members. Inevitably that leads to physical and verbal attacks but the recent attacks in America are a step beyond that.  

“That was deliberate and the argument of mistaken identity cannot really be used here – there were big signs outside saying ‘Sikh temple.’  

A general hatred has developed.

Islamophobia is rife and applies to everyone of color, regardless of religious background.  

In the eyes of people who wish to hate or belong to fascist organizations you [everyone of color, regardless of religious background] are the enemy and seen as a potential target.  

In Britain, Varinder Singh said, “a lot of emphasis is placed on extremism in certain corners of the Muslim community but the government and councils overlook far-right organizations such as the English Defense League. 

“In May, the EDL tried to ally itself with the Sikh community by hijacking a Sikh protest in Luton outside a police station after allegations that a Sikh woman had been raped by a Muslim man. Groups such as the EDL, attempting to align with the Sikh community, are moving “to isolate the Muslim community who need our support.”

Sources and notes

“Why are Sikhs targeted by anti-Muslim extremists?” (Emine Saner), guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 8 August 2012 15.00 EDT, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/08/sikhs-targeted-anti-muslim-extremists?INTCMP=SRCH


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