For Veerender Jubbal, a Canada based Sikh boy, the weekend following the Paris Attacks was a nightmare. Some miscreant found a selfie of Jubbal on the internet and edited it to make him look like one of the bombers. It went viral and mainstream global news outlets shared it, suggesting he was one of the ISIS attackers.
In the photoshopped picture, Jubbal is wearing a suicide bomber vest and his iPad has been edited to look like the Quran. The edited image was even shared by one of the largest – albeit unofficial – pro-ISIS channels – Khilafah News/Telegram, the app the extremist group used to take credit for the attacks in Paris.
The much distraught Veerender Jubbal stated on Twitter, “Over the weekend, a photograph was doctored to suggest that I was one of the terrorists associated with the Paris tragedy. This despicable action was then quickly made worse when some international news outlets decided to share the image as truth. Let me be clear – the photograph is a fake and I am not affiliated with terrorism of any kind.”
Why would anyone do this? Presumably because Jubbal is wearing a turban and the perpetrator is a racist. Jubbal is not a member of ISIS. He is simply a fun-loving Canadian Sikh youth. Veerender Jubbal in an emotional statement said, “While the past 48 hours have been deeply disturbing on a personal level, the broader impact of this image going viral for the Sikh community is what upsets me the most. Sikh articles of faith, such as our turbans and beards, represent a commitment to universal justice, equality, and helping others (seva), yet Sikhs continue to be mistakenly and offensively associated with terrorist networks abroad. The Sikh community has faced significant violence and discrimination following major terrorist attacks because of our religious appearance. We must be better than this.”
Sadly, whoever was behind this doctored image actually put the life of a man at risk. My thoughts go out to Jubbal and his family who have had to deal with this.