Carol Lay Apologizes to the Sikh Community for Inappropriate Cartoon

In response to an on-line petition drive organized by United Sikhs, cartoonist Carol Lay has issued an apology for a cartoon first published on September 4th by the Hartford Courant where the photo of a bearded and turbaned Sikh gentleman is referred to as "Osama's no-good cousin, Randy Bin Laden."

In a climate where Sikhs are becoming the increasing focus of backlash attacks, many Sikhs found the cartoon not only offensive, but potentially dangerous. Nearly three thousand people and several Sikh organizations signed and supported the petition started by United Sikhs which read, in part, "We believe your reference to the Sikh gentleman in the AP photo as “Randy Bin Laden” was not only distasteful but simply dangerous and possibly life threatening for innocent Sikh men in turbans. Such gross misinformation within the media leads only to cause more confusion and negative sentiment towards innocent people."

Lay tried to make light of the controversy at writing a follow-up cartoon in which she attempted to illustrate different styles of turbans. This was met with more outrage from the Sikh community.

On September 25th, United Sikhs issued a press release in which they reported that Lay had apologized and removed the inappropriate cartoons from her website. Her apology reads and can be viewed at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/petitions/rights/apology.htm.

Dear Mr. Singh

I was happy to take down the cartoons for the sake of the kind and concerned people who wrote. My insensitivity to the Sikh situation was idiotic and unfortunate, but please believe that I did not mean to do harm.

As you may have heard, I have been receiving a lot of obscene and Vicious hate mail, some of it threatening to my safety and livelihood. I am hoping you can take down the petition because it is still inciting ugly hate mail.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Carol Lay

United Sikhs stressed in their press release that the organization is looking for peaceful means to resolve this issue. "Hate mail and threats are not only anti-Sikh behavior, but it continues the cycle of misunderstanding and miscommunication. We therefore request and expect all Sikhs to be considerate and respectful in all forms of communication."

For more information about the petition drive or United Sikhs, visit www.unitedsikhs.org.

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