US Sikh body hires lobbying firm after Jay Leno row
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 02, 2012, 22:31
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.


First Published: Thursday, February 02, 2012, 22:31

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