US golf magazine apologises to Sikhs for doctoring picture

June 6th, 2008 - 1:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, June 6 (IANS) A leading US golf magazine has tendered an apology to the Sikh community for using a doctored image of Guru Arjan Dev in its May 2008 issue. Hundreds of Sikhs who considered the image blasphemous sent their protests to the magazine. Golf Digest magazine has also agreed to publish a public apology in its August issue for an item which showed the Sikhs’ fifth guru as a “golfing guru”, holding a golf club and offering advice to the readers, something considered blasphemous.

The apology came early this week from Jerry Tarde, the editor-in-chief and chairman of the monthly golf magazine, according to the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (Saldef), the largest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organisation based in Washington DC.

In a written statement to Saldef, Tarde said: “Our editors regret this mistake and have learned an important lesson. Thank you for accepting our apology.”

The printed apology in the August 2008 issue of the magazine, that will come out in July, will read: “It has been brought to our attention that an illustration in the May issue of Golf Digest inadvertently depicted a golfing character resembling an image of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, who is a revered religious figure in Sikhism. This was not our intent. We apologise for the use and for any offence to the Sikh community.”

The issue was brought to Saldef’s attention by a Sikh blogger based in Washington DC, who did a detailed analysis of the image used by the magazine, and traced it to a widely distributed image of the fifth guru, known for building the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sikhism’s holiest shrine.

Last week, at the behest of Saldef, hundreds of Sikhs across the US wrote to Golf Digest asking it to stop the use of the image and to print an apology in their next issue.

Besides Saldef, Maryland-based Sikh Council on Religion and Education (Score) too had taken up the issue with Golf Digest, claiming that “the way the magazine doctored this image is clearly considered blasphemy to Sikh followers and shows that it had no sensitivity to determine who Guru Arjan Dev is before using his image.”

Guru Arjan Dev, who lived in the 16th century, also compiled Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism’s holiest book. He was instrumental in strengthening the purpose and message of the Sikh faith by standing up against religious oppression, for which he was killed by the Mughals.

Golf Digest is a general interest golf publication, covering recreational golf and men’s and women’s competitive golf and calls itself the No. 1 golf magazine. It is part of Advance Publications, a media company that also owns Cond

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