The Herald Sun of Canberra, Australia published a cartoon showing a cigar in a Sikh’s mouth which caused outrage worldwide. The religious sentiments of Sikhs were hurt because tobacco is strictly prohibited in the Sikh faith.
The cartoonist named Mark Knight responded to the outrage by Sikhs and stated the cartoon was in relation to “Treasurer Joe Hockey’s policy to make small business the engine room of Australia’s economy.”
“I wanted to show a typical small business so I decided on an Indian couple running a corner store”.
“I like to represent real life in my cartoons and seeing that Indian born Australians run many of our small businesses, I decided to represent them in a cartoon,” he said.
A member of Australian Parliament named Michelle Rowland MP responded to the controversy.
MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURALISM
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
HERALD SUN CARTOON
The cartoon in the Herald Sun portraying Sikhs as cigar smokers is offensive to many in Australia’s Sikh community.
It is fundamentally against the tenants of Sikhism to consume any form of tobacco.
Sikh community leaders have voiced their disapproval and offence and have contacted me directly to communicate this.
Australia is a proudly multicultural country and we owe much of our economic prosperity and rich diversity to the hard work of migrant Australians, including Sikh Australians.
I am very disappointed that this offensive cartoon has been published and would urge all Australians to respect the cultures and religions of our diverse community.