US Sikhs accuse golf magazine of slandering religion

June 1st, 2008 - 10:53 am ICT by admin  

New York, June 1 (IANS) US Sikhs have accused the Golf Digest of slandering their religion by doctoring an image of their fifth guru in an article in the May issue of the magazine. The image with the article titled “The Golf Guru” is purportedly of an expert answering readers’ questions but is in fact a picture of Guru Arjan Dev with a golf club in the left hand and a gloved right hand up in benediction.

The Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), based in Maryland, has taken up the issue with Golf Digest, demanding that it eliminate the offending image.

“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,” said SCORE chairman Rajwant Singh.

Harjit Singh Sandhar, who first noticed the image, said: “To see the image of Guru Arjan Dev, a great social-religious leader of his time and who is still revered today, manipulated into a ‘golfing guru’ is a great desecration.”

Sartaj Singh Dhami, after careful examination, linked the image in the magazine to a picture of Guru Arjan Dev. He said: “Doctoring this image is equivalent to the painful sentiments that Muslims felt when Prophet Mohammed was drawn in sarcastic manner in Danish cartoons. It just hurts people’s sentiments which fuels unnecessary tension.”

With 25 million followers, Sikhism’s is the world’s fifth largest religion.

Their fifth prophet, Guru Arjan Dev, was instrumental in strengthening the purpose and message of the Sikh faith by standing up against religious oppression and denounced social segregation.

He was the first primary author of the Sikhs’ holiest scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhs holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, was built at his behest. In 1606, he paid dearly for his beliefs as he was martyred by the Mughal rulers.

The Golf Digest is a general interest golf publication, covering recreational golf and men’s and women’s competitive golf and calls itself No 1 golf magazine.

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