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USA Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, May 19, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

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    US: Text books spotted terming Sikhs as “terrorists”; Sikh Coalition initiates action


    By Parmjit Singh

    http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/2013/05/...s-terrorists-sikh-coalition-initiates-action/

    New York, United States (May 18, 2013): The Sikh Coalition has sought the help of Sikhs in United States to create a “Most Wanted” list of offending textbook manufacturers. According to an alert issued by the NGO (Sikh Coalition) a school girl Jaslin Kaur said: “In my world history class, I read that Sikhs are terrorists”.

    A copy of text book terming Sikhs as terrorists [Source: Sikh Coalition]

    “Can you imagine your child coming home to tell you that she learned that her religious community, her family, her sangat, were labeled as terrorists in her textbook?”, the Sikh Coalition has asked.

    “That’s exactly what happened to Jaslin Kaur, who attends Mt. Pleasant High School in San Jose, CA. As we all know, educators often teach from the textbook without bothering to verify the accuracy of the information they are teaching. They incorrectly assume that if it’s in the textbook, it must be true”, reads the alert issued by Sikh Coalition.

    “Sikhism is a branch of Hinduism….” this inaccurate statement is found in multiple textbooks that students read across the country. Textbooks are an educational tool meant to provide accurate information, but with statements like this one, they often perpetuate misinformation and promote stereotypes, Sikh Coalition has pointed out.

    The Sikh Coalition has maintained that the educators often teach from the textbook without bothering to verify the accuracy of the information they are teaching. They incorrectly assume that if it’s in the textbook, it must be true.

    As regards the problem, an alert issued by Sikh Coalition reads: “We can only fix a problem when we know what is out there. How many textbooks are our nation’s children reading that have incorrect information about Sikhs?”.

    The Sikh body has asked parents/guardians to go through their child’s social studies textbook and find any mention of Sikhs or Sikhism. It does not matter if the information is true or false. We want to know every mention of Sikhs in these books.

    The Sikh Coalition has asked people to send scanned copies of text book contents by using – this online form. http://sikhcoalition.org/our-programs/education/throw-the-book-at-national-textbook-publishers
     
    #1 spnadmin, May 19, 2013
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
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  3. Brother Onam

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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

    Waheguru!
    If any member has some curiosity of this phenomenon regarding American history, I would heartily recommend a book called "Lies my teacher told me" by James Loewen.
    It is an excellent and enlightening book about just this problem. The author committed himself to searching out inaccuracies as well as outright lies and myths taught in, I think, about ten standard textbooks in use in America.
    Very good read, and a good education.
     
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    #2 Brother Onam, May 19, 2013
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  4. spnadmin

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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

    Brother Onam ji

    Thanks for the reference. I was pondering this issue with more than a bit of frustration. Textbooks are not written by "the man in the street" who may be excused to some extent for not being on top of current events. The publishers of textbooks one would assume are well-informed because that is their job - to be well-informed. Therefore it is hard for me to accept that I have been wrong all along. After 9/11, there have been numerous shootings and beatings of Sikhs mistaken for Islamic terrorists because they wear turbans, bullying of Sikh Children, which as an epidemic problem has been part of national press coverage, recent crimes such as the Oak Creek tragedy, the appointment of a Sikh as special council to the Obama administration, a Sikh Assistant Attorney General in New York, and more. All have been been the subject of national coverage in the print, television and Internet media coverage for more than a decade. How oblivious can publishers be before they are dangerous for democracy?
     
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  5. akiva

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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

    But that's NOT what the textbook says. It hurts the claim that sikhs are being misrepresented if they ALSO misrepresent things.

    (Specifically -- the Sikhs who killed Gandhi are called terrorists -- NOT the entire sangat)

    Furthermore -- until the Orientalist teaching that Sikhi is part of Hinduism is eliminated from Western University thought the textbooks won't change (since they are written, in part, by those same Orientalists)

    Akiva
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

    Anyone in a position to review those books, let's go forward with the SC challenge.
     
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  7. Brother Onam

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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

    SPNji,
    That Oak Creek shooting always struck me as an especially egregious case of stupidity. This idiot set out to act out the crowning deed of his life, even 'martyring' himself for his cause, and didn't even bother to learn what type of temple it was he was attacking! This embarrassing fool thought he was killing muslims!
    But back to the topic at hand...
     
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  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)


    Akiva Ji..

    1 Find me one textbook that has the follwoing..

    President Kenendy was assasinated by a CHRISTIAN (Catholic, Methodist, or any of 900 various sects of Christianity) terrorist.
    President Abraham lincoln was assasinated by a CATHOLIC/CHRISTIAN TERRORIST.
    When Gandhi was assasinated in 1947 it was very SCRUPOLOUSLY HIDDEN form all press statements that the Assassin was a HINDU. terrorist. Till Today history books HIDE the HINDU part.
    see the follwoing 2 enteries on WIKIPEDIA:
    1. Mahatma gandhi..killed by HINDU..not mentioned
    2. Indiara Gandhi killed by SIKHS..the word SIKH is mentioned.
    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Wikipedia:
    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (often called Mahatma Gandhi) was assassinated on 30 January 1948, shot at point-blank range by Nathuram Godse. Prior to his death, there had been five unsuccessful attempts to kill Gandhi, the first occurring in 1934. Gandhi was outside on the steps of a building where a prayer meeting was going to take place. He was surrounded by a part of his family and some followers when three gunshots killed him.
    NO MENTION OF HINDU after Godse name…
    2. same source – but see how different..
    Indira Gandhi, the 3rd Prime Minister of India, was assassinated at 9:20 AM on 31 October 1984, at her 1, Safdarjung Road, New Delhi residence.<sup>[1][2]</sup> She was killed by two of her Sikh bodyguards,<sup>[3]</sup> Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star.<sup>[4]</sup>
    Now special care is being taken to say “SIKH”…


    And also notice not a SINGLE HINDU was murdered in cold blood/gfenocide/riots in 1947..unlike that happened in the second case !!!


    So isnt it so painfully OBVIOUS..that the SIKHS as a COMMUNITY are being targetted and blamed as TERRORISTS ?? Did the 30,00 Sikhs who died in the delhi genocide also responsible for indiras death ??


    Yet there are posts like yours that attempt to WHITEWASH...facts or split hairs....sad case.

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  9. akiva

    akiva Israel
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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

    Gyani Ji

    It's not at all obvious (especially to people outside the punjabi/indian community) that the Sikh community is being targeted.

    (In general -- exceptions to the general rule get mentioned in order to supply information, which is why "Christian", in your example above, isn't mentioned. It does nothing to further identify the person's background or motives)

    And if "Truth", "Accuracy", and "Honesty" are attempts at whitewashing then I admit I'm guilty.

    It's not my responsibility if others are dishonest -- but it is my responsibility to be honest in how I report/portray things.

    Gross (and obvious) exaggerations hurt the Sikh cause - others will dismiss the rightful claims because of it.
     
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    #8 akiva, May 19, 2013
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  10. akiva

    akiva Israel
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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as "terrorists." (online petition)

    An example:

    Which would you rather see in a news report:

    1) Fauja Singh ran a marathon;

    2) Fauja Singh, 102, ran a marathon;

    or 3) Fauja Singh, a 102 year old Sikh, ran a marathon

    Neither the age nor the fact that he's a Sikh changes the story -- so by your argument should be left out. The two facts are added as additional background information to make the story more accessible to the reader.

    I agree that the textbook should also explain why the bodyguards did what they did - but that's an editorial decision to save space, not an agenda or conspiracy against the entire Sikh community.
     
    #9 akiva, May 19, 2013
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  11. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    re: Textbooks Terming Sikhs as

    Humour me one little vignette: Child walks into the parlour just home from school with this question. Mom, We are Sikhs! Mom, am I a terrorist? No, Maninder, it is the bad Sikhs not the good Sikhs who do things like that. You are a good Sikh! Mom, but it says in the social studies book.... Were they the bad Sikhs?

    Why does a Sikh parent have to even contend with this? Why a Sikh parent any more than a Muslim parent? And we should note that with every instance of "Muslim" terrorism, a sizable segment of the population of the world does expect all the "good" Muslims to stand up and denounce the "bad" Muslim. I do not think I have ever noticed that all Christians are asked to stand up and denounce violence committed by members of Christian identity movements quite so vocally.

    Gyani ji is making a broader point, one not missed by a member of a minority who has been stigmatized and seen violence because of it.The word "Sikh" contributes a factual detail. But accuracy? Does one detail equal more accuracy?

    It is was the Indian government who labeled Indira's assassins as "terrorists." And this was part of a continuing program to "generalize" from the specific individuals to Sikhs as a whole. The event in question came on the heels of an act that some would call government sponsored terrorism. The event was followed by further acts which some would also call government sponsored terrorism. One single line in a textbook doesn't do justice to the accuracy of who was terrorizing who; rather it puts into play a label that goes unchallenged.

    Of course the story of 1984 might not be appropriate for a grade school textbook. But who then will set the record straight for the Sikh children who might feel shamed, and the non-Sikh children who are being asked to absorb an over-simplification along with the words?

    The truth of that one sentence is null because of what it leaves out. Back to my earlier point about being a member of a stigmatized minority: One single unchallenged phrase in this case is a snapshot. The snapshot won't be erased from the minds of the children who are Sikhs. A young child reads that he/she is identified with the "terrorists." These might be the same "terrorists" who are supposedly lurking in the US and Canada (something that was freely reported when the Sikh Caucus was formed).

    Even small insinuations are hard to rebound from. Not long ago a Punjab-based paper ran the head-line along the lines: "Tat Khalsa terrorists denounced by chief of police." Upon reading the article Dal Khalsa terrorists were also denounced by chief of police. Tat Khalsa and Dal Khalsa are 2 different groups: The Tat''s are a religious movement no longer current, and Dal's are a political movement (not necessarily terrorist btw). I complained to the editor who said the reporter was just taking down a verbatim statement.

    Such a short statement. So wrong. So harmful. So impossible to erase. And I have not even touched on whether Indira's assassins were terrorists, or simply assassins, or martyrs. I hope all can see now why that final question sticks in the heart.

    Throw the book at them. Here is the online petition if anyone cares to sign http://sikhcoalition.org/our-programs/education/throw-the-book-at-national-textbook-publishers
     
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    #10 spnadmin, May 19, 2013
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  12. akiva

    akiva Israel
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    spnadmin ji

    I accept your points, and agree that "sikh" should be left out -- unless the book is going to go into the background leading up to the assassination.

    My point is that, if you want to bring about change, then you must be accurate and specific in your complaint.

    Taking this case -- if you approach the publisher claiming that "the book says all sikhs are terrorists, please change it" -- the publisher will answer that the book doesn't say that -- and dismiss any other points you are trying to make.

    (I work in publishing -- and have some knowledge of how these things go)

    Akiva
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    Thanks Akiva ji

    And I respect your experience working in publishing and knowing of its realities. There is probably one more thing for me then to add.

    These social study textbooks never used to even mention Sikhs. We simply did not exist as part of the official record. After 9/11 organizations like the Sikh Coalition put pressure on publishers to include Sikhs. Perhaps then we would not be continually targeted by hate-crimes. More importantly perhaps Sikh children would not be objects of school bullying, which public school administrators and teachers tended to misunderstand.

    How bad is it? http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/2013/05/...-takes-action-on-complaint-by-sikh-coalition/

    So now we are included ... Are we supposed to say "Thanks?"
     
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  14. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Akiva Ji..
    It may be or not a "editorial decision"..or to save space ?? Space could have been saved by omitting the SIKH and TERRORIST.

    What would you say if a few words were further added to provide ven more background to fauja Singh...Fauja Singh, 102, a Sikh..from
    PUNJAB..where SIKH TERRORISTS ran a campaign to murder many thousands of innocent Hindus...and India where two Sikh terrorists murdfered the PM of India in cold blood...now runs marathons in UK !!.

    I agree lots of Space has indeed been saved by NOT mentioning Christian terrorists etc as they dont 'add" to the story or create so much impact as adding SIKH and Terrorist does to any story.

    I was just now reading a Media story on the Canadian MP and his Sikh Heritage Month for April..and the comments below are all about..why no heritage month for my Irish ancestors..scottish ancestors..why do these towel heads demand so much..etc etc. NOT a Single positive comment even though all canadians know the HUGE 200,000 Vasakhi parade free food etc and many other such Langgars parades taking place evn after a MONTH has passed after Vasakhi...May 17 vasakhi parade in calgary attracted 100,000 !! Most of those attendees must have eaten the free food and all....BUT the MEDIA will always pick up SIKH+TERRORIST ratehr than SIKH+FREE FOOD for all..tag..we have to work hard to drop that..ALL OF US.
     
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  15. aristotle

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    Exactly,
    Why doesn't the book say "Indira Gandhi was assassinated in Capital New Delhi on xx/xx/xxxx"?
     
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