UNITED SIKHSWinner of the Sikhs and Charities Award
June 26, 2011
12th Harh (Samvat 543 Nanakshahi)
Press Release
Having trouble viewing this email? View it on our website.

UNITED SIKHS Complains to BBC Trust for Offensive Cartoon

“The (Sikh) community finds the animation not only offensive but also highly irresponsible of the BBC.  Sikhs who wear the turban are commonly victims of mockery and discrimination which includes the bullying of turbaned schoolchildren, due to no other reason than their appearance and ignorance of what it represents. Rather than attempting to improve understanding of the Sikhs and Sikh identity among the general public, animations such as this could serve to exacerbate such problems faced by Sikhs,”  Mejindarpal Kaur, Legal Director of the UNITED SIKHS, said in the complaint letter to the BBC.

London, UK – UNITED SIKHS this week sent a complaint to the Chairman of the BBC Trust regarding the offensive portrayal of the Sikh identity in the BBC3 programme, ‘World’s Craziest Fools’.

The opening sequence of the program, a short cartoon, features a turbaned and bearded man, unmistakably representing a Sikh, while completely nude.

In Sikhism the Turban is considered to be the ‘crown of spirituality’, the form of a Sikh with a turban and uncut beard represents the form of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru himself.

UNITED SIKHS has requested from the BBC an apology and withdrawal of the sequence from any future broadcast of the programme and urged a full investigation of this sequence.

“The programme depicts the Sikh character as an object of mockery; the Sikh appearance is linked with stupidity and crass behaviour.  Being the only character in the clip given any religious identity, the Sikh community felt that they in particular were being targeted,” Mejindarpal Kaur, UNITED SIKHS legal Director, said in her complaint.  

UNITED SIKHS were alerted about this humiliating portrayal of the Sikh identity through complaints from deeply offended Sikhs.

The lack of positive representation of Sikhs in the BBC both through documentaries and use of Sikhs in comparison to other faiths is visibly apparent. The UNITED SIKHS complaint, also copied to the National Community Tension Team (NCTT) an organisation set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), asks whether the BBC will ‘produce specific positive documentaries on the Sikh faith and increase the number of visible Sikhs shown on its programing in a positive light to dispel the negative stereotypes encouraged by this animation’.  To read the complaint letter to the BBC click here

Previously, in October 2009, a BBC news report had also deeply offended the Sikh community through the inappropriate use of the Khanda and references to the Sikh religion while covering a crime totally unrelated to the faith.  You may read the press release issued by UNITED SIKHS on this issue here: http://unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-22-10-2009-00.html


Issued by:
Rishipal Singh
Director
UNITED SIKHS
Law-uk@unitedsikhs.org
+44 8701993328

Follow us on Twitter Twitter  Connect on Facebook Facebook Read Our Blog Blog

The Sikh Turban – The crown of spirituality

Protect Our Identity (POI) is an ongoing international campaign launched by UNITED SIKHS in August 2010 . It focuses on the need to protect the Sikh community's right to express its religious identity.  Initiatives under the POI campaign include:
 


UNITED SIKHS is currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to spread the message of the campaign within their own communities. To join or contribute to the campaign, volunteer or donate to UNITED SIKHS.

Contact Us

You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the UNITED SIKHS, which will provide immediate relief and support to those in need. You may donate online at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate  or send your donations to a UNITED SIKHS office nearest to you, whose details can be found at http://unitedsikhs.org/contact.php .

Ordinarily only 10 percent of your donation is spent on admin costs.

OUR MISSION

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

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.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.