Gurbir Grewal is the first Sikh Attorney General in United States. Grewal served as a federal prosecutor in New York and New Jersey and led the prosecutor's office in New Jersey's most populous Bergen County. Republican Gov. Murphy, who replaced Chris Christie, picked Grewal to be attorney general in New Jersey because he wanted a prosecutor who would stand up to President Donald Trump. During his time as attorney general, Grewal made important moves to defend some basic human rights. He threatened to sue firearms companies unless they stop marketing and selling untraceable weapons, launched an investigation into the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and joined other Democratic attorney generals in suing the Trump administration over the separation of migrant families.
The Sikh American population numbers around 500,000 and Grewal is a practicing Sikh who maintains a turban and beard, the visible markers of the faith. Around the world there are approximately 30 million Sikhs, making Sikhism the world’s fifth-largest major religion. The turban is an especially important part of the Sikh identity and both women and men may wear turbans as articles of faith. But wearing a turban made Gurbir Grewal a target of slur by the hosts of a popular New Jersey radio show. They called Grewal "turban man" and one of them stated that, because he could not remember Grewal's name, he will call him "the guy with the turban." According to apnews.com, Malloy and Franco, the hosts of the show, acknowledged their words might be offensive, but Malloy said “if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”
Malloy and Franco issued a written apology to the Attorney General Sikh and East Asian communities, stating they were sorry for the pain they caused; the radio station also apologized. The pair of hosts were also suspended for 10 days. The Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group from New York, requested religious and cultural sensitivity training for the radio station's staff stating that turbans have long made Sikhs a target for bigotry.
“These statements against the top law enforcement official in the state of New Jersey are particularly egregious coming from amplified voices of radio hosts, given the prominence of racism and xenophobia against Sikhs across the country,” said Satjeet Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s executive director, as apnews.com reports.
The “Dennis & Judi” show has been a fixture on New Jersey radio for more than 20 years, and many of the show’s loyal listeners called the station Thursday to protest the hosts’ removal. The hosts’ colleagues and the president of the station also defended the hosts.
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