|16 May 2005||2 Jayth 2, 537 NANAKSHAHI|
Ewing, NJ, USA - UNITED SIKHS joined a group representing the Asian Pacific, Arab, and other American minorities to condemn the recent racist remarks by two radio hosts on a New Jersey radio station. On April 25 2005, the radio hosts Craig Carton and Ray Rossi of NJ 101.5 FM launched a tirade of insults against members of the Asian Pacific American, Arab, Chinese, Indian, Korean and Japanese communities by saying that they were "fringe minorities" who had no place in dictating "the outcome of an American election". The hosts had also used racist labels such as "damn Orientals and Indians".
At a press conference, a coalition of minority organizations including UNITED SIKHS demanded an unreserved public apology from the radio hosts and insisted that disciplinary action be taken against the radio hosts by their station. The Coalition had earlier suggested that radio hosts be offered training so that they have a better understanding of the communities they serve.
Veronica Jung, Co-Coordinator of the Coalition Against Hate Media (CAHM), told the press conference that the radio station had told the coalition that the two radio hosts had been disciplined, but declined to reveal the details of the disciplinary action. However, the station had welcomed the suggestion of providing cultural sensitivity training for the radio station staff.
Manvinder Singh, programme co-ordinator of UNITED SIKHS' International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA) Directorate, told the press conference that even though the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to the freedom of speech, that freedom comes with the responsibility of the ensuring that defamatory and racist comments are not made of any member of the public. Mr. Singh reminded the meeting of the consequences of an irresponsible and un-informed media with the example of the Sikh community, which has been physically, mentally and socially harassed since the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy.
"Since the aftermath of 9/11, Sikhs have been victims of harassment, bias incidents and crimes, as well as discrimination. The media cannot run away from its responsibility to avoid these incidents. One of the first images shown on television after the 9/11 attacks was that of a Sikh being arrested on an Amtrak train and the media had labeled him a suspected terrorist. Later on in the week, Balbir Singh was murdered in Phoenix. This is not mere co-incidence but a direct consequence of irresponsible and un-informed media comments", explained Mr. Singh.
"UNITED SIKHS stands firm in defending the equal treatment and representation of all of humanity, regardless of religion, ethnicity and other man-made divisions. Comments such as those made by Mr. Rossi and Mr. Crate attack the very principles that the U.S. embodies in its laws and ethics and fuel further hatred and ignorance about the American minorities that reside in the U.S. UNITED SIKHS stands in firm support with the other Asian Pacific American organizations in condemning the inflammatory dialogue of the two radio hosts and demands that action be taken", Mr Singh added.
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Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.
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