English हिन्दी
Connect with us

Latest world news

American Sikhs launch campaign to spread awareness about their community, counter hate crimes

Published

on

American Sikhs launch campaign to spread awareness about their community, counter hate crimes

National Sikh Campaign says that despite the many contributions by Sikh-Americans, 60 per cent of Americans admitted they knew nothing about the community and 66% of Americans have never interacted with a Sikh before.

Feeling victimised and often the target of hate crimes in USA, American Sikhs today launched a nationwide million-dollar campaign to spread awareness and address the “collective misunderstanding” over the minority community amid a spike in hate crimes against them in the country.

Sikhs look distinctly different with their turban and full beard. To many Americans, they look the same as Islamists and post-9/11, some white US citizens treat them all as supporters of terrorism if not actually being terrorists.

A widely reported incident of such hate crime was that in May, when some white men brutally assaulted an IT specialist Maan Singh Khalsa, cutting off his hair and nearly snipping off the little finger of his right hand – all because of his appearance.

Last weekend, several eminent Sikh-Americans from across the US, lawmakers, government officials and local leaders participated in prayers weekend to mark fifth anniversary of a mass shooting by a white supremacist that claimed the lives of six Sikhs at a Gurdwara in the Wisconsin city.

On Wednesday, a month-long ‘We are Sikhs’ campaign was launched by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC), a non-profit organisation, to coincide with the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi.

It is a massive initiative to spread awareness of the Sikh religion and Sikh-Americans throughout the US as over 65% of Americans are ignorant about Sikhism.

A report in Los Angeles Times in June cited Sikh community leaders as saying they’ve seen another uptick since the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration’s proposed immigration and travel bans. Those proposals, they argue, are fuelling an intensified xenophobia.

The FBI began collecting data on anti-Sikh, anti-Arab and anti-Hindu hate crimes for the first time in 2015. Only six of the incidents in the most recent FBI report were anti-Sikh hate crimes, but the bureau said it takes years to get an accurate accounting.

According to Sikh advocacy groups, such incidents are under-reported and do not include other hate-filled attacks, such as discrimination or hate speech — a concern buoyed by law enforcement data. Many cities either did not report hate crimes or reported zero hate crimes, according to the FBI report.

While some of the violence against Sikhs stems from misconceptions about their background — attackers assume they are Muslim or Middle Eastern — experts say much of it is fuelled by a prejudiced response to their darker skin, beards or turbans, the LA Times report said. It recalled that earlier this year, two Sikhs and two other Indian men were shot in attacks in Kansas, Washington and South Carolina. In two of the incidents, authorities said the shooters expressed a variation of the same sentiment: Go back to your country.

Community members are working to strike a balance in its efforts to educate the public about Sikhism — aiming to differentiate themselves through awareness campaigns and local outreach without appearing to condone attacks on Muslims and other minorities.

The NSC’s ‘We are Sikhs’ campaign is a “national effort to help inform our fellow Americans about who we are and why we are proud to wear the turban, a symbol of our community’s commitment to equality and serving others,” co-founder and senior advisor of the National Sikh Campaign Rajwant Singh said.

“Sikh-Americans are pillars of their communities in every corner of our nation and we must work to proactively meet and connect with our neighbours,” he said.

The campaign would involve marketing and public relation efforts that will focus on increasing the Sikh-American community’s presence in national and local news outlets, online platforms and neighbourhoods. It will utilise national and local television and cable and digital advertisements, social media and community events to affect change.

Its organisers said the Sikh community has been the target of discrimination, intimidation, harassment and hate crimes since the 9/11 terror attacks largely because of a “collective misunderstanding” of what the turban means in the Sikh faith.

“Sikh values are American values, and Sikh-Americans have been making positive and significant contributions to American life for more than a century. We run local businesses and sing our national anthem with pride,” Gurwin Singh Ahuja, co- founder and executive director of the NSC said.

“The American dream is fundamental to our identity here in America, and we believe deeply in the freedom to pursue one’s own success through hard work,” Ahuja said.

Elaborating on the campaign, Singh had told PTI this week that the “seven-figure” targeted ad campaign will run on cable TV networks like CNN and Fox as well as on local TV stations and will have a heavy presence on social media.

There will be 40-50 spots on CNN and other networks and will be shown in morning and prime time bulletins, circulating throughout the day. The campaign will run for a month throughout the nation.

“We have brought a very scientific and targeted messaging element to the campaign. Our focus is to build a proactive and positive message and try to educate and inform Americans about the positive contributions the Sikhs have been making in America,” Singh said.

For the campaign, the organisers have roped in prominent marketing experts and firms, which have in the past done presidential-style campaigns for former presidents Barack Obama and George Bush.

The campaign has been tested over a period of time and through polls and focus groups, the organisers narrowed in on what message would move the public opinion.

NSC, however, said that despite the many contributions by Sikh-Americans, 60 per cent of Americans admitted they knew nothing about the community and 66% of Americans have never interacted with a Sikh before.

While this lack of awareness and interaction exists, the NSC said it believes there is enormous potential to enhance positive feelings and familiarity towards Sikh-Americans through the campaign.

Continue Reading

India News

Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

Published

on

Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

Continue Reading

India News

US reiterates its call for fair, transparent, legal process for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, speaks on Congress frozen accounts

The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections.

Published

on

A day after India summoned an US diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated its call for fair, transparent, timely legal processes on Wednesday.

Responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that they will continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Notably, the meeting at the foreign ministry’s South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal.

Matthew Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party’s frozen bank accounts. The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. He added that the US encourages fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of the issues.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the Delhi liquor policy scam. Earlier, AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh were arrested in the same case.

The External Affairs Ministry had earlier stated that states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies, adding that it could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents.

The Ministry further emphasized that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. It mentioned that casting aspersions on India’s legal procedure is unwarranted.

The United State’s remarks followed days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government labelled their remark as blatant interference in internal matters.

Continue Reading

Latest world news

5 Chinese nationals killed in suicide bomb attack in Pakistan

This is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

Published

on

Nearly five Chinese nationals were killed in an explosion during an attack on their convoy by a suicide bomber in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday. Reportedly, the suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers travelling from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur said that five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack. As yet, none has claimed responsibility for the attack. Bisham Station House Officer (SHO) Bakht Zahir asserted that the incident was a suicide blast and the authorities concerned were collecting the evidence.

The Station House Officer further added that security arrangements were tightened at the spot and the bodies were being shifted to a hospital. He added that they will investigate from where and how the vehicle of a suicide bomber came and how it happened. Notably, this is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

Previously, two attacks hit an airbase and a strategic port in the southwest province of Balochistan where China is investing billions in infrastructure projects. Several Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have for multiple years been working on hydroelectric projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

Notably, Dasu is home to a significant dam project, has been a target of previous attacks. Earlier in 2021, the attack in Dasu resulted in the deaths of nine Chinese nationals, along with two Pakistani children. The incident occured when a bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the Dasu Hydropower Project site was targeted.

There was confusion surrounding the nature of the attack initially, with some reports suggesting it was a bus accident. Nonetheless, subsequent investigations revealed that it was indeed a terrorist attack. The bus was hit by a blast, leading it to plunge into a ravine.

Continue Reading

Trending

-->

© Copyright 2022 APNLIVE.com