The post-9/11 world has not been kind to Sikhs.
Prejudice and misunderstanding has run rampant against the Sikh community, all too often singled out for their turbans in the chaotic fear following September 11. After several alleged hate crimes against Sikhs in Jersey City last month, one Sikh man testifying on the assaults said simply, "People associate Sikhs with terrorists because of the turban and beards."
The U.K. Sikh community must be experiencing similar prejudice. Pardeep Singh Bahra, a young British Sikh man and author of popular fashion blog, Singh Street Style, produced the video "Don't Freak, I'm Sikh," with the hope of transforming what he sees as a "general misconception people have of Sikhs."
"My turban is a crown, a uniform and a symbol against oppression," Bahra says in the video, which has already received more than 100,000 hits.
The turban can also be a fashion item, used to express style and individuality, as Bahra shows on his blog. "The turban can complement an outfit and give you more character," Bahra told The Guardian. "I've noticed more people are taking pride in their turban, and I really hope to inspire younger Sikh guys to be proud of their turbans too."
Where the blog avoids discussion of religious topics, Bahra's new video confronts religious misperceptions head on. Sikhism is a religion of equality, Bahra says in the video, and the turban should be viewed as a symbol of that.
"The next time you see a turbaned man walking the streets, remember that he is a man of love, equality and peace... The next time you see a Sikh, you'll know the turbans true meaning. My turban reminds me to be a good person."