LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A local man says he was shocked and humiliated to learn he is the subject of a YouTube video comparing him to Osama bin Laden apparently because of the turban he wears as a member of the Sikh religion.
The video was posted online this month and was allegedly taken by a fellow passenger on a JetBlue flight while the man slept.
The video was titled captioned: "Would you feel safe? Flying with Bin Laden." It's a joke that members of the Sikh community say is far from funny.
"This to me borders to hate speech and cyber bullying," said Harpreet Singh, the local director for United Sikhs.
Singh says the man in the video is Darshan Singh, a father, businessman and American citizen living in Fontana.
He says Darshan was flying back from New York on a business trip when he was secretly taped. He says Darshan is shocked and humiliated.
"And then comes fear about what happens next now that he has been branded in a very negative fashion. How does he deal with it on a day-to-day basis?" Singh said.
He says Sikhs around the country have dealt with discrimination and misidentification since 9/11 and they've seen more of that here since the massacre in San Bernardino.
Even though Sikhs are not Muslims, Singh agrees that neither religion deserves this.
"I don't think most of America really knows who we are," he said.
Sikhs are from India and believe in equality and service to others. Their places of worship leave their doors open, ready and willing to feed anyone for free.
That means even the man who took the video would be welcome.
"Please understand the consequence of what you do. It would be much better if he said 'Hello' to Darshan, try to get to have a dialogue and see who he really is," Singh said.
It's a message Singh hopes people all over the world will take note of.
for more features.