BY ALEXANDRA FLAMINI
To an American, the turban carries a bold yet subliminal message. Images of airplanes, tall towers, ash and debris are stark in my mind. CNN gave our country a new enemy the day Osama bin-Laden’s face appeared on TV sets. His recognizable turban, beard and tanned complexion became a rallying cry for American patriotism. So when I met Suhkpreet Singh, something within me was startled by his warm smile and overwhelmingly friendly demeanor.
Singh is a member of the Sikh religion, the fourth most practiced religion in the United Kingdom. It is a monotheistic religion that originated in India. The Sikhs often face discrimination when people think they are Muslim. In Phoenix after September 11 a Sikh man was murdered by someone thinking he was a Muslim. I find it ironic that a religion that has a martyr who rejected Islam is commonly mistaken for Islam.
No one in this world is free of racist thoughts, stereotyped judgments or unbiased opinions of people. Being introduced to the Sikh community gave me a chance for introspection. I have rethought my apprehension of bearded men in turbans—and will not be so quick to judge when I see such a man in line at the airport.