Turbans target of racial abuse


Sikh community members say they've seen a rise in verbal abuse because of people linking their turbans to terrorism.

Harjit Singh from the Australian Sikh Heritage Association, says that the increased fear toward Sikhs is due to images of Islamic State extremists in the Middle East.

"We walk down the street and sometimes we do get abused being called a terrorist or go home Taliban, those things are just unfortunate," Mr Singh said. 

"Sikhs, turban, bearded people have been in Australia for 150 years and were very much loved and integrated into the community."

Mr Singh wants more people to know about Australia's rich Sikh heritage and that the vast majority of turbans are, in fact, worn by Sikhs as only high officials in Islam wear the turban.

In an attempt to combat fears and prejudices, community iniatives are seeking to bridge the divide between cultures. 

In the Sydney suburb of Kellyville, the Super Sikh Cup encourages multiculturalism within the community through sport. 

Turbans and Trust gives people the chance to try the turban on and learn a bit more about the culture.

Kevin Connelly, the Local Member for Riverstone, tried a turban on and says people shouldn't jump to conclusions.

"It's simply a form of head covering respecting their religious observance, there are many such things around different traditions in the world and most of them present nothing whatsoever for people to be afraid of or worried about.."

The turban has existed for thousands of years and was originally worn by royalty. Five hundred years ago the Sikhs incorporated it into their community, partly as a symbol of equality.  The turban is mandatory for Sikh men, but Sikh women can wear them too.

Source World News Australia

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