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Sikhs angry over US RJ's remarks

Sikhs in LA are planning a protest against a radio station after being described as wearing a "diaper" on their head.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2007 20:30 IST

Sikhs in Los Angeles are planning a protest against a radio station after one of its radio jockeys (RJs) referred to turbaned Sikhs as wearing a "diaper" on their head.

RJ Al Rantel was discussing US airport security in his talk show "KABC 790AM" on September 10 where he allegedly said that if his own 80-year-old mother had to take off her shoes during a security screening, "... then why shouldn't a Sikh be required to take off the hat that looks like a diaper they wear on their heads?"

The comment has angered the Sikh community, which said they would start protests if the RJ did not apologise.

"If he does not correct himself on the air, we're going to put pressure on him," Navraj Singh told India-West, an ethnic Indian newspaper.

"I'm getting calls from around the country, and Sikh temples are collecting signatures," said Singh, a resident of Encino, California, adding he was ready to lead a protest outside the radio station.

Singh has written a strongly worded letter to Rantel, challenging him to an on-air debate. Rantel's team has not yet responded.

According to a new Homeland Security Department policy, which came into force on August 4, Sikhs have to remove their turbans at US airports for security checks. The new security guideline has already upset the large Sikh population in the US.

Sikhs have often been confused as Muslims, and its members often suffer due to anti-Muslim sentiments. Hate crimes against Sikhs increased after September 11, 2001.