United Sikhs US Retailer Forced To Withdraw Offensive Use Of Sikh Religious Insignia

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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
US retailer forced to Withdraw Offensive Use of Sikh religious insignia

US retailer forced to Withdraw Offensive Use of Sikh religious insignia @ www.punjabnewsline.com

LONDON: An online retailer based in the USA has been forced, by community pressure, to withdraw its
designs which had offensively used the Sikh insignia (Khanda) and an image of the Sikh Guru on its underwear/ thong collection.

As this was not the first time the retailer, Cafepress, has used Sikh religious insignia on their merchandise, UNITED SIKHS has written a letter asking them to put strict measures in place to ensure future compliance.

CafePress, a U.S. based internet clothing retailer, allows third parties from around the world to create their own designs and host them on their website. However, due to the vigilance and outrage of Sikh community, CafePress was bombarded with letters seeking to remove these vile images from their website. Fortunately, with growing community pressure, CafePress has agreed to pull the images from their site.

One community member who played an integral role was Gurmail Singh. Mr. Singh, who is part of the UNITED SIKHS volunteer advocacy team in the UK, was particularly active in explaining the outrage felt by the Sikh community. Mr. Singh wrote to CafePress and made a genuine plea to have the offensive content removed and also requested CafePress to “implement policy/ control procedure.” The results achieved by our fellow community member(s) are a testament to the strengthening resolve of Sikhs when we act with a uniform voice. Read Café Press’email to Gurmail Singh here.

UNITED SIKHS has echoed the concerns of the community and has written to CafePress to remind them of their moral and legal obligations and to ensure that CafePress closely monitors any future third party designs. We apprised CafePress of their own internal policy that calls for the removal of images that are in bad taste, irresponsible, and offensive, foreign law that punishes intentional acts aimed at harming the sentiments of a religious community, and one’s own moral responsibility to prioritize the protection of dignity over economic profit. You may read our letter to Cafe Press here.

“Ultimately, we were able to prevail and UNITED SIKHS extends its gratitude to those community members who spoke out and also to CafePress for taking responsible steps to safeguard the sentiments and dignity of the Sikh community,” said Ravjeet Singh, UNITED SIKHS-UK community advocacy director.

After hearing from the Sikh community, Cafepress offered its “sincere apology for any offense these products have caused.” The community recognizes that CafePress did not act with any malicious intent and hopes that CafePress will remain sensitive to the feelings of the Sikh community and use greater caution and stricter measures in monitoring what is hosted on their web-site.

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