USA Mercury News Appologizes To Sikh Community

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Jun 17, 2004
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The local Sikh community is concerned that a graphic that appeared in a Bay Area English-language newspaper may have sent the wrong message about the origins of the faith, reports Punjabi newspaper Sade Lok.

The San Jose Mercury News ran a graphic and informational sidebar to describe the Sikh religion alongside an article about the bullying of Sikh children in Bay Area schools. In the sidebar, titled “About Sikhism,” the paper described the religion as having been “heavily influenced by Hinduism but borrowed from Muslim beliefs.”

Speaking recently at a protest at a the Stockton Sikh temple, prominent Sikh leader Jaswant Singh Hothi told the congregation that these newspapers had used “objectionable vocabulary” in describing the origins of the Sikh religion, report Sade Lok and the Amritsar Times. This information, he feared, could cause massive misunderstanding about Sikhism.

Another Bay Area Sikh leader, Balwinderpal Singh, wondered if the sidebar was part of an elaborate conspiracy, and emphasized the need to stop these “attacks.”

Preacher Bhai Bakhshish Singh pointed out the need for a well-researched book on Sikhism in English that would tell the truth about the fifth largest religion in the world.

In the past, Sikh Americans have neglected to make a concerted effort to teach others about their faith, and have been more focused on cultural activities. When Sikhs were mistaken for Muslims and targeted in hate crimes in the aftermath of 9-11, many felt the need to spread awareness about Sikhism and what it stands for.

The San Jose Mercury News issued an apology to the Sikh Coalition for the unintended slip, and has corrected the graphic in its the online version and archives. The reporter, Lisa Fernandez, pointed out that the same graphic was used in 2002 and nobody had objected to it then.

Of course, all of this distracts from the point of the original article -- that Sikh kids are being bullied in school.

Go to this link to see the sidebar http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/pulse-of-the-bay/mercury-news-appologizes-sikh-community/
 
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