Open letter to Tarek Fatah from Coalition of Sikh Organizations

Dear Mr Fatah,

We are writing this open letter to you in regards to your recent Toronto Sun column on December 4, 2012 titled “Liberal white prejudice” you assert that Ontario cabinet Minister Harinder Takhar having a Chief of Staff that is a Muslim is akin to a Jew having a Palestinian Chief of Staff.

This analogy in confounding in that Sikhs and Muslims do not have a relationship that in any way, shape or form can be compared to or resembles that of Palestinians and Jews, particularly in the year 2012 in Canada.  The statement is factually incorrect as Sikhs and Muslims interact with one another quite amicably in Canada, and have done so for a very long time.  Even in India or Pakistan, the relationship between Sikhs and Muslims is not comparable to that of Palestinians and Jews – who are currently engaged in full scale armed conflict . Historical violence in the region of Punjab due to British, Indian and Pakistani politics should not be confused with religious violence. These two groups have a long shared history of living as friends, brothers, sisters, neighbors and countrymen. Furthermore, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, includes numerous versus from Muslim writers such as Bhagat Kabir, Sheikh Farid, Sheikh Bhikan and Mardana. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji constructed the Golden Temple (Harmandar Sahib) with four doors in all directions which symbolically represents the openness to people of all caste, creeds, social status, religions and backgrounds. The Guru invited a Muslim known as Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of Harmandar Sahib.

Recently the Government of Pakistan designating ‘holy city’ status for Nankana Sahib in Pakistan; the birthplace of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Each year thousands of Sikhs from Canada and around the world journey to Pakistan in high spirits to experience the Birthplace of Sikhism for themselves. Earlier this week at the World Kabaddi Cup in India, the Pakistani Kabaddi team visited the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. These gestures lend them-self to collective growth of understanding, respect and acceptance and is a far cry from the picture painted in your column about Sikh-Muslim animosity and hostility.

The statement made in the column, is not only inaccurate, but damaging and offensive to the many Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus who have excellent relations with each other and wish to continue to foster unity and respect, not division and acrimony.  We urge all members of the media to think carefully and do their research before engaging in inaccurate, hurtful and casual use of hyperbole to make your points.

Kind Regards,

Pritpal Singh Chatta

Trustee, Gurdawara Guru Nanak Mission

Member, Ontario Sikh Gurdawra Council

 

Bhagat Singh Brar

Member, Jot Parkash Sikh Gurdawara

Amarjit Singh Mann

Spokesman, Ontario Gurdawara Committee

 

The Coalition of Sikh Organizations is an ad hoc grassroots organization, representing the community on issues and concerns, while working towards developing strong ties with the broader community to foster a positive and understanding relationship.

4 Comments

  1. A refreshing open letter of this sort has been long overdue by a non-Muslim community or organization to counter-punch Mr Fatah’s chronic absurdities. His apologist, right-wing, fringe-Islamic stance is an embarrassment not only to Muslims, but now, apparently, has even managed to offend and disgruntle peace-loving members of other communities. Kudos to the Gurdawara Guru Nanak Mission, the Jot Parkash Sikh Gurdawara, and the Ontario Gurdawara Committee for scomment_IDing with humanity and social cohesion!

  2. Well sacomment_ID Mr Chatta. As a Pakistani Punjabi Muslim with family roots in pre-partition Punjab, as well as long-standing family friendships with sikhs in Canada, I commend you in your comments. Tarek Fateh is an opportunist who seeks attention in the current anti-Muslim climate. He claims he speaks for and represents a `Muslim` preaching tolerance, yet he is among those who are hell bent on hate-mongering against the greater Muslim community (whom he does not represent as he falsely portrays).

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