Friday, August 21, 2009

UK Sikhs accuse BBC of racism

UK Sikhs accuse BBC of racism
PTI 20 August 2009, 01:06pm IST

LONDON: A race row has erupted at BBC's flagship Asian station, which has been accused of being insensitive towards Sikhs and encouraging a Muslim presenter to mock Sikhism.

"We should not be paying a licence fee for promoting the ignorance-based ramblings of those bent on self-promotion who sneer at Asian religion and culture," said Hardeep Singh, a spokesman of the Sikh Media Monitoring Group, which accused BBC's Asian Network of being insensitive towards listeners from the minority community.

The Sikh Group has written to the BBC asking for a full transcript of Adil Ray's show, which was removed from their website after threats from angry Sikh listeners who accused the popular Muslim presenter of denigrating the "kirpan" dagger - an important religious symbol and one of five ceremonial symbols that baptised Sikhs are expected to wear at all times, The Independent newspaper said today.

Members of the Sikh community complained that Ray, in the show broadcast by the Birmingham-based network on Thursday August 6, had been disparaging about whether Sikhs really needed to carry kirpans. The complaint was based on Ray's discussion of the cancellation of a Punjabi music concert in Canada where police had banned Sikhs who refused to remove their "kirpan", the British daily reported.

BBC's Asian Network had courted controversy last year when the Lord Ahmed of the Labour Party had accused the network of being biased against Muslims.

Indarjit Singh, veteran Sikh journalist and chief of the Network of Sikh Organisations, said Britain's Asian communities should move away from stations aimed at a small demographic.

"Stations like BBC Asian Network do little to encourage integration and social cohesion because they allow communities to ghettoise themselves," he said.

Supporters of the Asian Network, however, believe the radio station is a vital voice for Britain's Asians in the otherwise white-dominated industries of media and broadcasting.

The network, which was set up eight years ago after the BBC's then director general Greg Dyke described his own organisation as "hideously white", has denied the accusations or any suggestion that Ray meant to mock Sikhism.

with thanks : source :

A Sikh web portal

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