Washington, DC: Yesterday, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest and largest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization, received a formal apology from Mr. Jaipal Reddy, Chairman and CEO of Radio Salaam Namaste in response to complaints from the Sikh American community in Texas and a letter from SALDEF.On the evening of October 6, 2007, Radio Salaam Namaste DJ’s Sadat and Talha made several jokes and disparaging remarks about ‘Sardars’ (male members of the Sikh faith). They then encouraged listeners to call-in to the station with more jokes about members of the Sikh faith.
“Your comments demonstrate a significant lack of judgment and professionalism and perpetuate an extremely hurtful and demeaning stereotype about members of the Sikh faith. [Additionally] such stereotypes not only directly affect Sikh American listeners, but also color the perceptions of your listeners and affect their relationships with members of the Sikh American community,” wrote SALDEF to the DJs and station management.
In addition to the written apology, Radio Salaam Namaste is playing a taped apology on the air every hour. Listen to the apology here.
“We appreciate the prompt response from Mr. Reddy and his willingness to meet with members of the community,” said SALDEF National Director, Rajbir Singh Datta. “This resolution is a prime example of the positive results that come from community partnership and action.”
SALDEF would like to acknowledge and thank Manmohan Singh of World Sikh Council for working locally with the radio station and facilitating a meeting with local community members and the station.