The one who started the hashtag #AskCanadianSikhs on Twitter is Mukhbir Singh president of the World Sikh Organization (WSO) who was in line waiting to enter Montreal’s Bell Centre to take in the Canadiens-Penguins game last week, when a fellow Habs fan standing in line asked him if he was Sikh and proceeded with another question about Sikh extremism.
That question seemed designed to be answered by someone like Mukhbir Singh who understands the issue only too well.
Singh soon tweeted about the incident using the hashtag #AskCanadianSikhs, realizing it was important for Canadians, especially those in the media and politics, to talk to regular Sikhs more frequently.
Now the WSO has adopted the #AskCanadianSikhs into a campaign encouraging the community to share their perspectives about their community and its portrayal.
The Jaspal Atwal invitation incident and its aftermath and the more current one involving NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s alleged closeness to Sikh separatists, has resulted in an unprecedented backlash against the Sikh community.
In a media interview Mukhbir Singh said, “The #AskCanadianSikhs campaign was launched to give Canadian Sikhs a voice so they have the ability to tell their own stories.”
And there have been dozens of Sikhs who’ve shared their thoughts and concerns over what has been happening in the past few weeks.
One Twitter user writes: “My 3 young children will be impacted by the media’s inaccurate reporting. How would you feel going to school as an 8-year-old and being called a terrorist because of the way you look? Your reporting has serious consequences. @WorldSikhOrg #askcanadiansikhs.
Another has this to say, “Looks like we Sikhs will have to hold ‘we’re not terrorist, we play hockey’ placards at the annual Khalsa Day parade downtown. Result of being stigmatized and feeling the need to do it. #AskCanadianSikhs
A legacy of anti-Sikh racism in Canada runs so deep that even the NYT was reporting on racism in Vancouver against Sikhs in 1975. Racism has been an issue since Sikhs first began settling in Canada 100+ years ago. This is why #AskCanadianSikhs is needed. #canadiansikhs #cdnpoli
The resurrection of the Khalistani issue has caught everyone off guard. For many it was seen as an issue of concern among fringe elements within the community who could just be ignored. Suddenly everything is out in the open and a well-integrated community is under scrutiny. – CINEWS