Students and staff at the University of Alberta in Canada were shocked to find a number of crudely racist signs posted across campus on Monday, before they were quickly torn down by school security.
The posters, which featured the message “FU*K YOUR TURBAN” imposed over a picture of a bearded man wearing a hair wrap, demanded that those who are “so obsessed with your third-world culture go the f*ck back to where you came from!” (It should be noted that the censored vulgarity is part of the signs themselves, because god forbid xenophobic racism also include profanity, right?)
Yadvinder Bhardwaj, president of the university’s Indian Students’ Association, told Canada’s National Post, “This is shameful that people in Canada are doing this. I don’t want this. We are students, we are here trying to get an education, we are not doing anything bad.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada estimated that approximately a dozen posters were found across campus before they were removed. In a press release, organization vice-president Alberta Tejinder Singh Sidhu said:
These racist posters don’t reflect the inclusiveness Canada is renown for and we know that the University of Alberta and the larger Edmonton community stand in solidarity with Sikh Canadians in saying that this type of messaging is not welcome.
University of Alberta president David Turpin said in a statement that the school is “working with University of Alberta Protective Services to find the parties responsible. The University of Alberta is a space that is open to all people and we take pride in the strength of our diverse community.”
Interestingly, the posters feature the website address of Immigration Watch Canada, an anti-immigration group which has reportedly disavowed the offensive signs. Speaking with the Canadian Broadcast Company, an IWC spokesperson flatly denied any connection between his group and the posters, saying “I think it’s bloody disrespectful and we would never put something like that out.”
According to the CBC, Arundeep Singh Sandhu, a local Sikh man, plans to host a “turban tie-in” at the University in response to the posters. In an interview with local radio, Sandhu explained that “some people don’t realize this, but the word Sikh means ‘to learn’… so for me, I thought the best response would be education.”
“There is a silver lining in every cloud,” Sandhu added later. “They have the freedom to express their views, and I think the best response is to share our views and tell people who we are.”