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Beloved Guru Nanak Dev Ji called a devil on BBC!!

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On yesterday's BBC Asian Network programme, which Sonia Deol presented from 9am to 12.00.

Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs was called a devil. And other derogatory comments were made regarding the Sikh religion.

After listening to the programme, it seems to me that this girl wasn’t even Sikh, she had no knowledge of Sikhi, and without jumping to conclusions, it seen quite obvious that she was in fact a Muslim, and was only on the show to insult Sikhs.

This cannot be tolerated.

the audio of the show will be uploaded later today

Act now. Please call, email and text the BBC to complain. Use the feedback form - http://www.bbc.co.uk/feedback/

And call her live on her show too, see below for details.

Call Sonia on 08459 440445,

Text Sonia on 07786 202001

Email Sonia at sonia@bbc.co.uk

Please forward this mail

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I hope this protest goes really far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

on a side note: did sonia deol made that comment?

We gotta protest it hard and hit them hard this time. Whoever did this .. not gettin away from it... we should start petition if they dont appolize on T.V...

Dont let these hate-mongers get away by just an appolozy letter

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

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Guest Javanmard

Well... calm down guys!! The BBC is not responsible for the comments of non-BBC staff!!! It wasn't Sonia Deol who made the comment but the girl who phoned the BBC. So if you have any complaints they should be directed to the girl NOT Sonia Deol or the BBC!!!

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Why not report it to http://www.sikhmediawatch.org/ and let them handle it professionally?

I'm locking this topic so members don't get into posting offensive remarks. Let's report it to our websites the ones handle such degradation of Sikhs and Sikhism.

Please, send letter to www.sikhmediawatch.org or http://www.sikhcoalition.org/ and lets handle it the right way.


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  • 1 month later...

Letter from BBC.

Sonia Deol, Asian Network, 11 May 2004

I am writing to let you know that we have now had an opportunity to listen to a recording of this programme, study a transcript of the relevant sections and take up with Vijay Sharma, Head of the Asian Network, and members of the programme team the points which have been made in the many complaints we have received.

As some of the complaints suggest that it was Sonia Deol herself who made offensive remarks about Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the Sikh religion, I’d like to begin by reassuring you that this is not the case. The remarks in question were made by Kiri, a guest on the programme, in the course of explaining why, as the child of a Sikh father and a Muslim mother, she had concluded that she wished to follow the Muslim faith. In the course of her remarks she referred to Guru Nanak Dev Ji as “Guru Nanak Singh” - which of course I regret, as I appreciate how disrespectful it appears, though I don’t believe there was intentional disrespect on Kiri’s part. Even more regrettably, she went on to express the view that Muslims regarded the Guru as “shitaan” for having drawn some of his contemporaries away from Islam. The term “shitaan” was used by Ms Deol only in the course of pointing out to Kiri how offensive these remarks were.

The main points of complaint which we have looked into are whether enough care was taken in the preparation of the programme - in particular, the selection and briefing of the guests; whether Ms Deol reacted appropriately after the offending remarks had been made; and whether (as some complaints have suggested) she herself provoked the remarks by deliberately asking a leading question.

On the first of these points, we found that the programme team had taken a good deal of care in the preparation of the programme. Its theme was “Inter-religious family life - does it really work?”. As it was an e-mail from Kiri about the problems she faced as the child of a multi-faith family which had prompted the programme team’s interest in the topic, they naturally considered whether she would be an appropriate guest and, after talking to her on a number of occasions, decided that she would. I should emphasise, though, that this was a judgement about whether she had something illuminating to say, based on her own experience, about the topic in question, and the relevance of that topic to the concerns of the programme’s audience, not a judgement about her competence to discuss the beliefs of Sikhism and Islam. The programme team, in thinking through the topic and the way it should be handled, had already decided that the relative merits of different religions should not form part of the agenda, and had made this clear to Kiri before the broadcast. They had also made clear that she would be asked what it was, in terms of her own personal processes, which had led her to choose one religion rather than the other, and the answer she gave in the course of that discussion gave no reason to believe that she might say anything offensive to either Sikhs or Muslims during the broadcast. My conclusion is that the programme team exercised a proper standard of care in selecting a guest for a programme of this kind and in ensuring that she was aware of the intended boundaries of the discussion.

On the second point, Ms Deol intervened very firmly after the remarks in question had been made, saying that they were “highly offensive to people who follow Sikhism” and not representative of the views of Muslims as a whole. Kiri, in turn, explained that she had not intended to make a point about Sikhism in particular, but rather about the view she understood Islam to take of other religions in general. In the course of responding to calls from listeners, Kiri added her own apologies for the offence her remarks had caused, and acknowledged that she needed “to find out a bit more” about the religions she had commented on. After Kiri had left the programme, Ms Deol apologised again, and at length. The programme team, meanwhile, had taken care to select calls from listeners who wished to point out the offensiveness of the remarks, from both Sikh and Muslim viewpoints. In the light of all this, it seems to me that Ms Deol and the programme team did react appropriately - and I should add that further apologies were made on air, by the Head of the Asian Network, and in a press release, and that the Director of BBC Radio met a group of leaders of the Sikh community and personally apologised to them for any offence caused.

On the third point, I have found no evidence that Ms Deol deliberately prompted the offending remarks - rather the reverse, in fact, as the whole team had reached a clear view beforehand that comparisons between different religions should not form part of the agenda, and as the line of discussion which eventually led to the unfortunate remarks was carried forward by interventions by the other studio guest, not by questions from Ms Deol. I think the most that could be said is that an exchange which, by that time, involved discussion of the relative authority of the Koran and the Sikh Gurus carried potential risks which might have been recognised more quickly - but, on the other hand, the way Kiri had talked before the programme about her personal preference for Islam rather than Sikhism had given no grounds for supposing the discussion might take an unfortunate turn.

In summary, then, it seems to me that I should not uphold those aspects of the complaints we received which suggested there had been lack of due care in the preparation of the programme, an inadequate reaction to the offending remarks, or an intention to provoke. However the offence caused to religious feeling by the remarks themselves was clearly such that I must uphold that aspect of the complaints. A summary of the matter will be published in the next issue of the BBC Programme Complaints Bulletin, and I shall send you a copy when it comes out. Meanwhile, I hope you will accept my apologies (as well as those already offered) for the offence you were caused.

Yours sincerely

Fraser Steel

Head of Programme Complaints


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