Sikh group disappointed Liberal MP won’t identify so-called extremists

September 17, 2010 Ottawa: The World Sikh Organization of Canada is disappointed that a B.C. Liberal MP who claims there is rising Sikh extremism in Canada was “unavailable” to provide proof of his claims on CBC television.

CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon arranged to interview the WSO along with Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh to discuss the issue, but Mr. Dosanjh declined.

“We were looking forward to hearing the evidence Mr. Dosanjh has for his repeated claims of political extremism among Canadian Sikhs,” says Gian Singh Sandhu, Senior Policy advisor.

The WSO has warned that Mr. Dosanjh’s unfounded claims cause an upswing in hateful comments across the Web, particularly on comment sites like Vancouver’s Craigslist and even on Mr. Dosanjh’s own Facebook fan page.

“Because he’s an MP his words carry more authority. And he never points to anything specific – so by implication every Canadian Sikh is guilty. He doesn’t seem to understand that his insensitive comments are, in effect, giving people permission to attack all Sikhs,” Mr. Sandhu says.

The WSO worries that due to a well-publicized film on Mr. Dosanjh’s life, which premiered in India earlier this month, there will be another flurry of hateful remarks online.

Filmmaker Meera Dewan, who has produced more than 30 documentaries for the Indian government, told the Globe and Mail that the film was inspired by Mr. Dosanjh “…speaking up against the Sikh violence still brewing” in Canada.

The human rights group has requested the ugly threads be removed from sites like Craigslist and they have requested Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff look into his caucus member’s allegations. They are still waiting for a response from the leader of the opposition.

“This is a human rights issue: we’re a highly visible minority, so those hostile comments have a way of making our day-to-day life really uncomfortable,” Mr. Sandhu says.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status

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Contact:
Gian Singh Sandhu
Policy advisor
604-341-2755
gianssandhu@gmail.com

or

Balpreet Singh
Legal Counsel
416-904-9110
balpreetsingh@worldsikh.org