NEW YORK — A survey conducted by researchers at the University of Southern Pennsylvania has revealed that 78 percent of those surveyed were either “disappointed, dismayed or confused” when informed that Sikhism is not the same thing as Islam.
Lead researcher Dr. Michael Stanley said that his team showed each participant photographs of male Sikhs wearing turbans, asked the participant to identify the man in the photograph’s religion, and then recorded the participant’s reaction after they were informed he was not Muslim.
The report included a number of statements made by participants after discovering their confusion. “I can’t remember the last time I was this upset,” said one participant from Nyack, New York. “How can they not be together? This feels like my parent’s divorce all over again.” A participant from Marion, Indiana was described as “viscerally angry” because she had “spent most of [her] life hating those people with the things on their heads, and now you’re telling me it was a waste of time?”
The survey’s results were released against a backdrop of violence stemming from such confusion, Recently, a Sikh professor at Columbia University in Manhattan was attacked and called “Osama” and “terrorist” by his assailants, and a school in Hendersonville, Tennessee, recently cancelled field trips to a mosque and a Hindu temple after parental pressure.
A Stanford University survey released earlier this month which showed similar results indicated that 70 percent of Americans did not recognize Sikhs wearing turbans, and 29 percent thought Sikhism was a sect of Islam. Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Stanley noted that, in their survey, 43 percent responded to the false notion that Sikhism is a denomination of Islam with some variation of “Wait, Islam has denominations now?”