Don’t Forget That Islamophobia Targets Another Peaceful Religious Group, Too


Islamophobia has long been inextricable from the social fabric of the West. It is a symptom of imperialism and a generic fear of the “other,” and attacks like those in San Bernardino, Paris, and Boston these past few years have only served to aggravate it. It is as though the West is incapable of humanizing Muslims enough to see them as individuals, rather than as a radicalized collective. But it isn’t just Muslims who are being lumped together by these xenophobic tendencies — Sikhs, too, are being targeted by Islamophobia.

In a recent Daily Show segment, actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia talked to Hasan Minhaj about his encounter with xenophobia back in February. Ahluwalia, who is Sikh, reported being unable to board a flight from Mexico to New York because he refused to take off his turban during a security check. Back in 2013, a GAP ad featuring Ahluwalia was vandalized with comments about bombs. In an Islamophobic climate that has only worsened since 9/11, many Sikhs in the U.S. have experienced hate crimes and racial profiling, and the FBI has had to start tracking these instances of bias, along with those targeting Arab Americans and Hindus.