US Sikh body hires lobbying firm after Jay Leno row

A Sikh body in the US announced the hiring of a lobbying firm to educate the US media about the Sikhism and the importance of the Golden Temple.

Updated: Feb 02, 2012, 22:31 PM IST

Washington: A Sikh body in the US on Thursday
announced the hiring of a lobbying firm to educate the
American media about the true identity, image and message of
Sikhism and the importance of the Golden Temple to the
community in the wake of popular TV host Jay Leno`s
controversial remark that sparked a global outrage.

"The lobbyists will approach NBC to provide a forum to a
panel of Sikh scholars and notables to educate media and
American public about the sanctity and sensitivity of the Sri
Harmandir Sahib," said Sikh for Justice in a statement.
The decision comes in the wake of the controversial
remarks on the Golden Temple by Leno on the NBC news channel.
In the programme, the Golden Temple was shown as the
summer home of Mitt Romney, the leading Republican
presidential candidate.

NBC will also be urged to run a documentary on Sikhism
during prime time to help spreading the true identity, image
and message of Sikh religion, it said, adding that lobbyists
will approach the US media to run segments showing authentic
message of Sikhism.

Attorney Gurpatwant Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, said
educating the international media about true information
regarding Sikhs is much needed to spread the true message of
Sikhism and to put an end to the decade-long spree of violent
"hate crimes" against Sikhs.

"Since 9/11, from the hate driven murder of Balbir Singh
Sodhi in 2001 to the December 2011 attack on Sikh elderly in
Fresno, hundreds of Sikhs have been victims of hate crime in
the United States," he said.

Tejkaran Kaur, SFJ Youth Coordinator, said it`s the
misinformation about the Sikh religion and identity which is
solely responsible for the hate crimes against Sikhs in the
United States after September 11.

"Wrongful depiction of Sri Harmandir Sahib by Jay Leno
does not help in disseminating correct information about Sikh
religion and instead makes Sikhs more vulnerable," she said.
"Sikhs are particularly sensitive about the sanctity of
Sri Harmandir Sahib...," Kaur said.