Walmart and Other Retailers Pull Osama Bin Laden Costume from Shelves After Protest

Sikh advocacy group led charge saying costume tied to violence goes against all who wear turbans.

A number of big retailers have removed an Osama Bin Laden Halloween costume from their shelves this season following protests from the Sikh Coalition.

The community-based organization defending Sikh civil rights, sent a number of letters to Walmart, Amazon and several other big retailers urging them to remove the Osama Bin Laden Halloween costume because it furthers “negative stereotypes about turbans and beards that have led to violence and discrimination against Sikhs and other minorities,” HuffPost reported.

"If you lost a loved one during the 9/11 attacks or during our nation's war against Al Qaeda, or if someone attacked your father in a hate crime because he wears a turban, I doubt this costume would make you comfortable,” Rajdeep Singh, director of Law and Policy at The Sikh Coalition, told HuffPost.

In response, Walmart and Rite Aid pulled the costume from their online stores and apologized to customers who it may have offended.

The move comes following the brutal hate crime attack against a Sikh Columbia professor, Dr. Prabhjot Singh, whose assailants called him “Osama” and “terrorist” while he was assaulted.

According to a recent study by Stanford University on hate crimes in the United States, 70 percent of Americans inaccurately identify turban-wearers as Muslim, Hondo, Buddhist or Shinto when in fact almost all men in the United Sates who wear turban are Sikh Americans whose faith originates in India. 

Read more.


Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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