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Gap ad featuring Sikh jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia is vandalized with anti-Muslim slurs


Gap slams racist graffiti after ad featuring Sikh jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia is vandalized with anti-Muslim slurs


The graffiti also includes a line that reads, ‘Stop driving taxis!’

The vandalized ad was originally found and captured by New York photographer Robert Gerhardt on the downtown platform of the Buhre Avenue 6 train stop in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx.

Gerhardt forwarded the images to Muslim journalist and commentator Arsalan Iftikhar who quickly shared it with his near-40,000 cumulative followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Iftikhar told MailOnline that the photo made him want ‘the world to see how brown people are viewed in America today.’

Gerhardt’s image received a wave of responses, many of which expressed outrage over the graffiti.

‘[This] makes me very very sad. The world is becoming more hateful,’ responded one Twitter follower. ‘Sadly typical,’ replied another.

Iftikhar’s multiple Twitter dispatches were also re-tweeted by influential Muslim author and commentator Reza Aslan to more than 54,000 of Aslan’s own followers – helping draw more attention to the misinformed graffiti.

Gap even responded to Iftikhar’s tweets to inquire where the graffiti was located.

Representatives for the brand tell MailOnline that they are now ‘working to replace the image [in the Bronx].’

They also issued a statement that says: ‘Gap is a brand that celebrates inclusion and diversity. Our customers and employees are of many different ethnicities, faiths, and lifestyles and we support them all.’

When Gap’s ‘Make Love’ holiday campaign debuted earlier this month, the brand received an outpouring of positive responses on its Facebook page from members of the Sikh community.

Iftikhar feels that ‘This whole story just proves that we do not live in a post-racial America yet when South Asians and those perceived to be Muslims cannot even grace fashion advertisements without racial epithets being directed their way.’

Ahluwalia is a well-known face in fashion circles. He designs the celestial jewelry label House of Waris, which earned him a prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination in 2009, as well as an official membership with the CFDA.

Most ironically, in this case, designer has been named on multiple best-dressed lists by the likes of Vanity Fair and British GQ for his original style which typically takes on the uniform of a black turban, a long beard, and an impeccably-fitted suit.

Ahluwalia is also a muse for the film director Wes Anderson, who has cast him in movies including The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited.

He is just one of the subjects in GAP’s ‘Make Love’ holiday campaign, which also stars Cyndi Lauper, and Tony Bennet.

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  • The greenmantle

    Its a referance to hippies 😉 and the 1960s counter culture I believe You are maybe too young to get the referance
    Sir David

  • The greenmantle

    I think lots of small gestures can go along way even the way cross cultural influences can challenge percieved norms like the Jewelry above and music like this
    Sir David

  • mindy1
  • Nur Alia binti Ahmad

    One of my children lives in the Dallas Texas area of the US
    I was, at the time a musician I had to fly to China to join the orchestra I worked with. This particular flight was from Dallas to San Francisco, it was just after the election of US President Barak Obama the first time. I remember because these 2 men talked about it the whole time.
    Two men sat behind me, one was a Sikh, (I knew because of their head dress) and another man. The one man asked about the Sikh’s head dress, and they talked about it. Then the other man began his tirade against Mr. Obama.
    The Sikh man also discussed with the other about Islam, and the same thing you stated happened, mostly against the Muslims in Pakistan. He said he ‘knew these Muslims who (did this or that)’ and of course the other guy agreed.
    I patiently listened to them the whole fight, but it was annoying. It turned out that the Sikh man left us, but the other man got on the same flight as I did, and although we had another plane, we ended up in the same place, I was in the seat in front of him.
    Thankfully, the man didn’t have anyone to whine to on that part of the flight, but when we got to Bejing, I was waiting for family members to pick me up, and he was having trouble making a phone call, so I helped him, He got through, and everything was settled. We made small talk for about 30 minutes until my family members came to get me, my mother and aunt got out, both wearing headscarfs, and the asalamu alaykum.
    The man asked me if I was Muslim. I told him yes. He asked me if I heard him on the flight talking (to the Sikh), I told him, I heard every single word. He apologized, and we parted ways.
    I hope I changed his mind about Muslims, even if in a little way.

  • Sam Bin Ismail

    I agree but you will be surprised, I used to work in a shop years ago with a Sikh. He was a bit old and He started to tell me how bad Muslims are and how Muslims have sex with their own sisters and all for no reason without realizing I am a Muslim. When I had my fill I informed him he is just wrong and I am a Muslim. I was nice to him and I kept smiling through out our conversation. He was shocked and his first expression was “you are not a Muslim”, but when I assured him the look on his face was priceless

  • Nur Alia binti Ahmad

    In the west though, Muslims and Sikhs need to leave that hate behind for that very reason.

  • moraka

    Some Sikhs hates Islam and Muslims. So of course they are not going to speak against violence in general. But they would what to make sure that haters don’t confuse them with Muslims.

  • Tarig Musa

    I don’t understand

  • Nur Alia binti Ahmad

    If only we lived in the Kumbyah world.

  • Nur Alia binti Ahmad

    your statement is confusing.

  • moraka

    I have noticed that the Sikhs, when they are made victims of religious profiling, (Sikhism and Islam are religions, not ‘races’) they want to ‘make sure people understand they aren’t Muslim’, rather than speaking out against violence in general.

    One reason is that there exist and anti-islamic mindset amongst some Sikhs.

  • mindy1

    I know Islam is not a race, but the point is to the bigots all brown guys with turbans must be eeevviilll moooosssllliiimms

  • Tarig Musa

    make bombs instead of make love. Although everything else you said is spot on.

  • Nur Alia binti Ahmad

    Where exactly is the ‘anti Islam’ slur?

  • JD

    Remember Islam is not a race its a religion that is why this guy was targeted

  • A Muslim Guy

    When I first saw the ad, I knew it was only a matter of time.

  • mindy1

    First off, the idiots can’t even tell Sikhs from Muslims-second, why should it bother them, why should they care who is in a retail ad?!

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