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.
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.
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.