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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sikh Teen May Have Lied about Having Hair Cut by Attackers

As we reported yesterday, a Sikh teen in Canada alleged that he was assaulted and then had his turban removed and hair cut by five attackers.

Police, however, have not ruled out the possibility that the teen lied about the incident and cut his own hair. According to the Globe and Mail, there were no witnesses or suspects, leading the Richmond RCMP to say that "one possibility they're investigating is whether the boy cut his own hair." Moreover, "investigators have heard from members in the Sikh community that the teenager may have lied about the assault in order to defy his parents' expectations that his hair should remain uncut as a symbol of his faith."

While this possibility has not been ruled out, the Richmond RCMP notes that "the likelihood is greater that the boy was attacked."

A Sikh spokesman admitted that "There was a previous case where that was the circumstance and the whole community felt embarrassed by the situation." One such case occurred in 2003 -- a Sikh boy in New Jersey claimed that "[d]uring a brash drugstore robbery, [his] arm was slashed, his turban removed, and his hair chopped off." The police later revealed that the boy "snipped his own hair, and slashed his own hand." In fact, a police captain remarked, "He said it was cut with a knife, but it was cut like in a salon."

The fabrication drew a strong response from the Sikh community. Rajwant Singh of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education said, "People are just outraged. We feel that this is the lowest anybody can go to exploit a situation for their own personal benefit."

UPDATE: another incident in which another Canadian Sikh teen "claimed that a group of skinheads attacked him and cut his hair off. The truth was, he didn't want long hair anymore."

The article asks the significant question, why would a Sikh lie about an incident in order to justify his short hair? A Sikh activists answers, "In this society, there's a lot of pressure to conform to what is normal, and normal is not a baptized Sikh."

More to come....

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