SIKHS AWAIT GUCCI APOLOGY

Monday, 20/05/2019

http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

PHOENIX : Nordstrom, an American chain of luxury stores, has apologised to Sikhs for selling a turban they found offensive, but a representative with the US community’s top civil rights organisation said on Saturday they are still waiting to hear from the Gucci brand that designed it. “We feel that companies are commodifying something that is sacred to people around the world,” said Simran Jeet Singh, a senior fellow with the New York-based Sikh Coalition. PHOENIX : Nordstrom, an American chain of luxury department stores, has apologised to Sikhs for selling a turban, but a representative with the US community’s top civil rights organisation said on Saturday they are still waiting to hear from the Gucci brand that designed it.

“We feel that companies are commodifying and capitalising on something that is dear and sacred to people around the world,” said Simran Jeet Singh, a senior fellow with the New York-based Sikh Coalition, who said the turban has a deep religious significance for Sikh men.

“And there is tension over the fact that the very article of our faith has been the focus of so much hate and violence and bullying,” he said, recalling that Sikhs wearing turbans have been attacked in hate crimes, including a man killed near Phoenix a few days after 9/11.

The current complaint springs from a Gucci head wrap that until Wednesday was advertised on Nordstrom’s website for $790 (around ₹55,000) as the “Indy Full Turban.” The description said the “gorgeously crafted turban is ready to turn heads while keeping you in comfort as well as trademark style.”

“We have decided to stop carrying this product and have removed it from the site. It was never our intent to disrespect this religious and cultural symbol. We sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this,” the department store said in a tweet.

Gucci’s turban was first talked about last winter, when a white model walked the runway wearing it.

Gucci had not responded to the criticism over the product by Saturday. Emails seeking comment were sent to Gucci through its public relations representatives and a corporate fashion services website.

“When companies appropriate articles of faith, they do not take into consideration the discrimination Sikhs face while adhering to the tenets of their faith. We appreciate @Nordstrom’s recognition of this problem & apology; we hope @Gucci will follow suit,” the Sikh coalition said in a Thursday tweet.

The coalition was formed after Balbir Singh Sodhi, a SikhAmerican wearing a turban, was shot dead on September 15, 2001, in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa when he was mistaken for an Arab Muslim.

In another attack on the community, a white supremacist opened fire on a Wisconsin Sikh temple in 2012, killing six people and wounding five others before killing himself.

Sikhs across the United States and around the globe have taken to social media to lambaste Gucci, including Taran Parmar, a radio journalist for News 1130 in Vancouver, Canada.

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