Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bogus racial attack on Sikh youngster follows similar claims

On 15 November 2006 the Edinburgh News reported an unnamed 15year old Sikh youngster from Edinburgh as the subject of a vicious racial attack. According to the boy he had his hair cut off, his bandana pulled off and was punched. It was separately reported that he had racist epithets written on his body by four white youths who he was able to comprehensively describe to the local police and that he was kicked to the ground suffering bruising and swelling to his nose and both cheeks as well as soreness to his left shoulder and ribs.

The story was reported all over the world. It promoted an inter-faith vigil on 19 November to promote peace attended by Sikhs from all over the UK.

On 24 December the Observer reported Sikh boy admits his attack lie. Sources told the Observer “that he felt torn between his Sikh values and more westernised ones. They said he had wanted to get his hair cut for some time, but was afraid of the reaction of some members of his family and the Sikh community.”


No action is to be taken against the youngster who has apologised for his action.

Here are two more similar stories from Canada.

Globe and Mail, August 26, 1998

"SURREY, A Sikh teenager faked a racial attack to avoid facing his parents over his desire to look more Western, police said yesterday.
The 18-year-old man reported last month that he was attacked and beaten by three white skinheads who ripped off his turban and cut off his long hair. Police investigating the so-called attack quickly began hearing rumours that it never took place.
The victim has admitted to police that he staged the incident, Staff Sergeant Ross Fisher said. The teenager's wish to adopt a more Western style of appearance didn't sit well with his parents, so he and three friends faked the attack by cutting his hair. Because he and his friends have unblemished records, Staff Sgt. Fisher said, police will try to work with them to avoid laying charges."


B.C. teen won't face charges over racial attack story
Last Updated: Thursday, June 9, 2005 12:27 PM ET

The RCMP will not lay charges against a B.C. Sikh teenager who made up a story about being the victim of a vicious racial attack.
The 17-year-old Richmond Sikh had told police that five white men in their 20s beat him, cut off his turban and hacked off his hair, which, for religious reasons, had never been cut.
The alleged attack two weeks ago spurred outrage and fear among the Indo-Canadian community.
The teenager later admitted he made up the story, and that he had injured himself and cut off his own hair.
"The RCMP and our partners do not believe it is in the best interest of this young person or society in general to have this incident carry forth through criminal charges," the RCMP said in a statement.
"This incident is not as much about criminality as it is culture, compassion and the emotions of a young person. This is a time that calls for calm understanding and not a time to be thinking about criminal charges."
RCMP Cpl. Peter Thiessen wouldn't say whether the boy made up the story just to explain getting a haircut against his parents wishes.
There are definitely some cultural identity issues and this young person is under an incredible amount of pressure," he said.
Richmond RCMP Supt. Ward Clapham said the teenager will instead face a community justice forum.
"So the victim gets to be heard, the victim gets to feel they're being understood, the victim gets to share the pain the anger and all the emotions and realities they faced," he said.
But some in the Sikh community say the police are going too easy on the teenager.
Balwant Singh Gill, a spokesman for many of B.C.'s Sikh temple societies, said the incident has been an embarrassment to the Sikh community and set back racial harmony in the province.
Gill said he'd rather see the boy face criminal charges and that he's not sure how community leaders are supposed to come up with a suitable punishment.
He added that he's worried that the next time a real hate crime occurs, people will ignore it.
The RCMP said the boy will be held accountable and that in other cases, young offenders have been asked to perform community service, write letters of apology or undergo counselling.