In light of all major political parties suspending campaigning, Sikh Tories have temporarily ceased their activities also in memory of those who lost their lives or were maimed in the cowardly and senseless attack in Manchester.
Harsimrat Kaur said: “We stand in solidarity with the people of Manchester and are shocked at the horrific ordeal many families are going through. To attack young people is a sign of the barbarity of this terrorism, and we strongly support the government’s response to it.”
Sikh Tories have also been quick to highlight the potential for mistaken identity and issues of misrepresenting Sikhs, in light of the terrible Manchester Arena suicide bombing.
Within a day of the attacks, at least two media outlets ran a photo of a Sikh taxi driver under a heading that labelled him as a ‘Muslim’.
Members of the group were quick to point out the mistake to the Mirror Online and Cosmopolitan Magazine, and the post was duly taken down.
This highlights a serious issue that the Sikh community faces worldwide, that of mistaken identity.
Sikhs have been targeted for hate crimes because of their distinct identity, of Dastar (turban) and unshorn beard, ever since the rise of terrorism with the 9/11 attacks.
Sikh men and women have been attacked, verbally abused and in some cases even killed – the first such race hate crime post 9/11 was at an Arizona gas station just days after the atrocities.
Jay Singh-Sohal said: “It is unacceptable for any person to be attacked or abused because of their faith or identity. We as Sikhs particularly feel that the media has a duty to ensure that when they use images of Sikhs or they refer to the community, that they take the effort to ensure they are accurately and correctly portraying who we are. This will not only help with furthering understanding of Sikhs but will also ensure Sikhs worldwide are not misrepresented.”
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Harsimrat Kaur is a Mathematician working in Retail and founder of Sikh Tories, a group aiming to communicate, influence and inspire the Sikh community and centre-right movements.
For more information see: www.harsimrat-kaur.com
Jay Singh-Sohal is a journalist and has written books about Sikh faith and identity, including the “Turbanology” series which raises awareness about the community. For more information and online resources visit www.turbanology.info