(PRWEB) February 8, 2003
WASHINTON, DC Â Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force (SMART), the nationÂs oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy group, demanded Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) explain his view that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was justified. During a radio call-in show on Tuesday, February 4 on WKZL-FM, Rep. Coble referred to Japanese Americans as Âendangered species,Â and stated, ÂFor many of these Japanese Americans, it wasnÂt safe for them to be on the streets.Â
Rep. Coble justified the internment of Japanese Americans by saying, ÂWe were at war.Â He, however, did not agree with a caller who suggested internment of Arab Americans. Rep. Coble said, ÂÂ some of these Arab Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us.Â
In a letter to Rep. Coble, SMART stated that making such statements while chairing the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, is insensitive and grossly inappropriate.
ÂMaking such callous statements in an already racially-charged environment is careless, inexcusable and is a recipe for racial discord, especially coming from a Congressional leader who is heading the fight against crime and terrorism,Â said Navtej S. Khalsa, SMART executive director.
SMART calls on Rep. Coble to explain his remarks and apologize for his comments.
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SMART, founded in 1996, is the oldest national Sikh American advocacy group. Its mission is to protect the rights of Sikh Americans through legislative advocacy, public education, legal assistance and ensure accurate portrayal of the Sikh religion.