Doormats and rugs with the image of the Golden Temple were reportedly sold on Amazon.com, drawing a strong reaction from a prominent Sikh body which asked the online retail giant to prohibit the sale of culturally inappropriate and offensive merchandise.
The Sikh Coalition said in a statement on Tuesday that it was alerted to products such as doormats, rugs and toilet seat covers with the image of one the most historically significant Sikh sites, the Golden Temple, were being sold by some sellers on Amazon.com.
“It has come to our attention that several sellers are posting products onto your platform that culturally appropriate the imagery of the Golden Temple and spiritual imagery of other eastern cultures,” The Sikh Coalition’s Senior Manager of Advocacy & Policy Sim Singh said in a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Senior Vice President & General Counsel David Zapolsky.
The civil and legal rights organisation said that in the hours since, through community outreach, several pages have been removed from the website. The products seem to have been removed from Amazon’s website as a message that “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page” appears when running a search for the items.
Singh said that “using religious or spiritual imagery on products that come into contact with unhygienic surfaces is offensive to all faiths that originated in the East. The Golden Temple is no such exception and should never appear on rugs, bathmats, and toilet seat covers. Such items are deeply offensive to Sikhs everywhere and other followers of Eastern religions.”
The Sikh Coalition asked Amazon that the objectionable items be permanently prohibited from sale and hoped that Amazon will do more to ensure similar products do not appear on its platform.
“We request that you notify your sellers and affiliates to refrain from publishing culturally inappropriate and offensive merchandise on your platforms,” Singh said.
The group also asked individuals to send a direct message to Amazon explaining why these products are offensive to the Sikh community.