Over his two terms, President Obama has recognized the Sikh community (and seems comfortable in doing so) perhaps more than any other US president in history. In his recent speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, he makes reference to the Sikh American community as victims of anti-Islamic bigotry in the United States. However, it was lacking in specific proposals to help counter America’s Islamophobia.
David Noriega and John Templon write in Buzzfeed News about detention of Punjabi Sikhs at US borders who are seeking asylum. This well-written and comprehensive article connects the dots to the legacy of issues plaguing Punjab and its people today.
Categories: 1984, Civil Rights, News Bits • Tags: 1984, 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms, Buta Singh, Buzzfeed News, David Noriega, farmer suicides, Immigration, John Templon, Operation Blue Star, Punjab police, trafficking
While in 2012, the Republican Party offered sympathy and support to the Sikh American community, by 2016, this sentiment has ostensibly been disregarded — and even reversed — by the dominating Republican candidate for President who openly disparages a Sikh article of faith. And, there has been little tangible response from the Republican Party or the other Republican candidates to this incident or other similar protests. One wonders how or why this shift occurred.
Categories: Civil Rights, Hate Crimes, News Bits, Politics • Tags: Arashdeep Singh, Donald Trump, Iowa, Ishwar Singh, Muscatine, Nikki Haley, Oak Creek, Republican National Convention, Republican Party, Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, xenophobia
In an article published in Lawfare, law professor Dawinder S. Sidhu offers an coincidental counterpoint to Monday’s post about the concept of “mistaken identity” and its use to explain hate crimes in which Sikh Americans are victims. Professor Sidhu finds that dismissing mistaken identity arguments is problematic and counter-productive to addressing hate crimes affecting the Sikh and Muslim communities in the post-9/11, post-Paris and post-San Bernardino environment.
“Mistaken identity” has become the de facto explanation for hate crimes perpetrated against members of the Sikh American community, the logic being that Sikhs are being targeted because their articles of faith — particularly the turban, men’s beard, and brown skin — are confused by attackers for identifiers of Muslims, the latter of whom are being confused as terrorists. Both law enforcement and Sikh community leaders have defaulted to this explanation, pointing to post-9/11 backlash as the causal motivation for […]
In a recent episode of healthcare of a family member, we observed a healthcare provider introducing herself to the patient, announcing herself in a loud, pronounced voice. “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?” She said this very loudly this in a hospital room after our family member just had surgery and was in a vulnerable state. It was not something we appreciated, especially since our family member has lived in the west in upwards of 40 years and was well-versed in English. It […]
In its 2015 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) continued to express concern about the state of religious freedom in India, particularly after the election of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Placing India in its “Tier 2” category (which the USCIRF defines as “countries where the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are serious and are characterized by at least one of the elements of the ‘systematic, ongoing, and […]
On Medium, in an address after the mass murder of nine black congregants at the hands of a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, writer John Metta talks about the difficulty in having conversations about race: Despite what the Charleston Massacre makes things look like, people are dying not because individuals are racist, but because individuals are helping support a racist system by wanting to protect their own non-racist self beliefs. People are dying because we are supporting a racist system […]
Categories: Civil Rights, Hate Crimes, Reflections • Tags: Charleston, hate crimes, John Metta, Ku Klux Klan, mass shooting, Medium, Oak Creek, Racism, Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, South Carolina, White supremacy, Wisconsin
On The Immanent Frame, Gene Zubovich provides an interesting overview of the history of America’s recognition of human rights, specifically by way of the Cold War era (post- World War II until the early 1990s) American Christian reaction (and the tensions within) to communist movements in Russia and China: In 1948, the year that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, three debates were most salient in the American context about the boundaries between the religious and the secular. […]