MILITARY: Video shown at a Nova Scotia base deemed ‘reprehensible’ by Sikhs

Published: November 9, 2012

A video shown at 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia has enflamed the Sikh community. Submitted photo


The Sikh community in Nova Scotia is enraged by a video that was shown at a dinner at the military base 14 Wing Greenwood more than two years ago that is now the subject of a military investigation.

“It’s very unfortunate and disturbing,” Jagbal Singh Tiwana, president of the Maritime Sikh Society, said in an interview with the local newspaper The Chronicle Herald

According to the article by Gordon Delaney, the video shows a man in heavy brown makeup, a long fake beard and a turban. He’s talking in a thick accent to a fictional female television anchor.

In response to questions about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, the turbaned character, supposedly the brother of the terrorist leader, responds, “I get the guns, I steal the bullets. I make the bombs. I do everything. All he ever does is take credit.”

Asked what he’s doing living in Vancouver, the fictional character replies, “What do you think I’m doing out here, you silly infidel? I am driving one very nice taxi.”

According to the story, the video was leaked to CBC News a few weeks ago and posted on its website Thursday.

Although bin Laden was Muslim, the character in the video is unmistakably Sikh, reinforcing the mistaken belief by many that Sikhs are Muslim, said Tiwana.

“Muslims do not wear a turban. Only Sikhs wear turbans,” he said. “It’s very disturbing, portraying Sikhs as followers of bin Laden.”

After the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001, many Sikhs were mistaken as Muslims and attacked and beaten.

“We are loyal citizens of Canada,” Tiwana said. “We live peacefully and get along well with our neighbours. But here we are portrayed as a follower of bin Laden. It’s ridiculous and reprehensible.”

There are some 140 Sikh families living in Nova Scotia, with a temple in Halifax.

The comment about being a taxi driver in Vancouver also stereotypes Sikhs.

“There are many Sikhs who drive taxis in Vancouver,” Tiwana said. “But we’re also represented in the Canadian Forces and the RCMP.”

He said he looks forward to the results of the military investigation.


The Canadian Flag flies over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill on Feb. 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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