Dear Donald Trump, This Is Not A Muslim: A Quick Guide to Sikhs
“He is putting my picture, saying Muslims support him and I have nothing to do with it. I don’t support Trump. Nobody even asked me to put that picture there. It was shocking, disturbing and this will create more confusion among people because they are sending it nationwide”.
Trump Campaign’s Mistake Could Have Dire Consequences For American Sikhs
This week, the Donald Trump campaign sent out a flyer featuring the photo of Gurinder Singh Khalsa, an American citizen and owner of Sikh’s PAC, a political action committee dedicated to explaining the differences between Sikhism and other religions. Ironically, the Trump campaign misappropriated the image of Singh Khalsa, falsely claiming that he is both a Muslim and a Trump supporter.
“I want to be judged by how valuable a citizen I am to this great nation,” Singh Khalsa said. “I am not Muslim and I am not supporting Trump.”
“He is putting my picture, saying Muslims support him and I have nothing to do with it. I don’t support Trump. Nobody even asked me to put that picture there. It was shocking, disturbing and this will create more confusion among people because they are sending it nationwide.”
Despite carrying the endorsement Paid for by Donald Trump for President Inc., the Trump campaign claims to not recognize the fliers—in the words of campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks, the mailers are “not official campaign collateral”.
This does little to reassure Singh Khalsa, who says “now we have to work hard to get national level politicians and the presidential candidate, he does not know the difference between Muslims and Sikhs and that is most disturbing.” The confusion will only fuel a cycle of violence against Sikhs, one ignited by ignorance.
After 9/11, Sikhs Became Unlikely Victims Of Scorn And Violence
After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, American Sikhs suffered the unintentional consequences of reactionary anti-Muslim violence. With their turbans and long beards, Sikhs (along with other swarthy men) are too frequently mistaken for Muslims. Of course, discrimination against Muslims is never acceptable. But if you’re going to be a bigot, at least get your religions straight, right?
And as far as religions go, Sikhs are pretty damn chill. They believe in equality of the sexes, for all races, religions, and creeds. They’ve been known to sacrifice their very lives so that others may worship in whichever way they choose. Sikhs deserve the dignity and respect of at least recognizing them as a distinct and culturally significant belief system. They are, after all, the fifth largest religion in the world.
WATCH: Sikhs Dance To Raise Awareness
Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images