The Daily Show Highlights How Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Harms Sikh-Americans

From the April 25 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah:

HASAN MINHAJ (CORRESPONDENT): Islamophobia, in case you haven't noticed, it's still a big problem in America.


MINHAJ: But what about those people who look Muslim, but aren't? Like Sikh-American Waris Ahluwalia. He says he was prevented boarding his flight because of his turban. He refused to remove this cherished symbol of his faith. A turban, which as a Sikh he wears everywhere, but for some reason it makes people uncomfortable.

WARIS AHLUWALIA: Almost every time I fly back to the U.S. I get a secondary screening. And it's not just a problem at an airport, it's not just a problem for me on the streets. And I'm always wondering why, why do I get profiled?


AHLUWALIA: Yeah, people assume that Sikhs are Muslims and that's primarily an issue because Sikhs are an independent religion.


MINHAJ: But is Waris alone in his struggles against bigotry?

GUEST: I've been called “ISIS” a lot recently.

GUEST #2: Americans who see Sikhs automatically think we are terrorist.

GUEST #3: A turban is what makes us a target.


AHLUWALIA: I'm an artist, I'm making movies, I'm designing, I'm trying to live my life. I do things just like you, right? And just like everybody else.


MINHAJ: Why don't you just go, “hey, I'm not Muslim?”

GUEST: It's just not an option for us to throw another community under the bus. Even if it means things are harder for us, we believe it's the right thing to do.

GUEST #4: Like, we need to be better than that as Americans and that's what our Sikh values teach as well.


MINHAJ: Come on, even Barack Obama was like, “hey, I'm not Muslim.” Look, I can't hide it. If I were you, I would throw me under the bus so fast.

AHLUWALIA: That's not the way I was raised. That's why I wear this turban. As a reminder to myself to treat humanity with care and kindness. So that's -- so I'm not here to point fingers.


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