Will Texas Students Learn About Sikhs?

January 15, 2010

(Austin, TX) 15 people have the chance to ensure public school students in Texas learn about Sikhs and Sikhism. 15 people have the opportunity to severely decrease the number of bias based bullying incidents against our Sikh children. 15 people have the ability to pioneer efforts to reflect the diversity of this country in our public school curriculum.

Who are these chosen 15? They constitute the 15 members of the Texas Board of Education. Read the rest of this entry »


Racial Profiling Doesn’t Work Says Israeli Airport Security Chief

January 14, 2010

In this National Public Radio piece, Rafi Ron, the former chief for security at Ben Gurion airport argues that racial profiling is not effective. Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv is Israel’s largest airport and has a generally excellent reputation for security.

In the piece, Ron squarely addresses the effectiveness of racial profiling:

“One of the problems with racial profiling is that there is this tendency to believe that this is the silver bullet to solve the problem. In other terms if you are a Middle Easterner or if you are a Muslim you must be bad. If you are a European and Christian, you must be good.

But back in 1972, Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv was supposed to be attacked by a Palestinian. It was never attacked by one. It was attacked by a Japanese terrorist killing 24 people and it was attacked in the mid-80s by a German terrorist with blue eyes and blonde hair answering to the name Miller.” Read the rest of this entry »

SikhCo Responds to Colbert’s “Terrorist Midget” Image

January 13, 2010

Colbert Report Terrorist MidgetOn January 6, 2010, Sikhs made an appearance on Stephen’s Colbert’s popular daily news spoof, the Colbert Report. Unfortunately, it was not in a good light. In fact, the segment showed a man wearing a beard and full patka while the voiceover describes him as a “terrorist midget.”

Yes, some may consider this funny, but at the same time, it doesn’t do our community any favors. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Oregon Matters

January 12, 2010

In any nation, the promise of equal opportunity is measured by the extent to which minorities can pursue careers in public service. As evidenced by the post-9/11 Sikh experience, this promise is not always kept. Read the rest of this entry »

Media Coverage of Capitol Hill Briefing on Profiling

January 12, 2010

The Arab American Institute organized an excellent briefing yesterday morning on profiling post-Christmas 2009.

Here’s a news article on the briefing: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0110/011110cdpm1.htm.

During the briefing, the Coalition came out squarely against the new TSA policy singling out nationals of 14 select countries for extra scrutiny regardless of individual criminal culpability:

“Profiling is now the policy of our country. Let’s not mince words,” said Amardeep Singh

The TSA wrongly denied that it was engaging in profiling, stating:

TSA does not profile,” the spokesman added. “As is always the case, TSA security measures are based on threat, not ethnic or religious background.”

Its policy however would indicate that it is profiling. The Coalition will continue to press the TSA on the issue of whether it is engaging in profiling or not. Stay tuned.

(Note my title in the article is incorrect).

Writing to Secretary Napolitano on Profiling

January 9, 2010

The past 24 hours has seen a flurry of letters from social justice organizations to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the subject of profiling.

In all, the Coalition has authored or joined in submitting three letters or statements directed at Secretary Napolitano over the last day:

1) National Sikh Organizations Letter– The Sikh Coalition authored and asked SALDEF and United Sikhs to join it in submitting a letter the Secretary Napolitano yesterday focused on the concerns of Sikh air travelers;

2) National South Asian Organizations Letter – The Coalition signed on to a statement initiated by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) as part of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations, also sent yesterday; and

3) Muslim, South Asian, Arab, Sikh Organizations Letter – The Coalition finally signed a letter to Secretary Napolitano from a large group of Muslim, South Asian, Arab, and Sikh organizations.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will continue to engage the Obama administration on the issue of profling in the nation’s airports.

College Scholarship Opportunity

January 8, 2010

*Western Union Foundation’s Family Scholarship Program http://foundation.westernunion.com/ourProgramsScholarships.html is designed to help immigrant families improve their economic condition in the United States through education. Eligible families can receive up to $5,000 to finance college or university courses or ESL classes for two family members at once. The deadline is February 5, 2010. *
  Read the rest of this entry »