Last month, the Sikh Coalition joined the Sikh community to launch a campaign demanding that Amazon remove offensive merchandise involving Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) from their online marketplace.

The merchandise, which was being sold by third party retailers, included doormats, rugs and toilet seat covers. In response, the Sikh Coalition directly contacted Amazon on Dec. 18 and swiftly moved to launch a community email and phone campaign that led to thousands of Sikh community members taking direct action.

Within hours, Amazon started removing offensive merchandise from their marketplace and their teams in India, Seattle and Washington, D.C. contacted the Sikh Coalition to provide more direct information and updates on their work to remedy the problem. By Dec. 21, many offensive links to third party merchandise had been removed and Amazon made assurances that their protocols for selling third party content were being reviewed.

“We appreciate Amazon’s quick response by acknowledging the problem and working directly with us to begin to take offensive merchandise down,” said senior policy and advocacy manager Sim J. Singh. “However, it’s one thing to address the immediate problem, but it’s another to permanently fix it so that it doesn’t continue happening.”

The offensive merchandise involving Darbar Sahib is not being made or marketed by Amazon, but unidentified retailers are producing the material and independently adding it to Amazon’s marketplace. Once Amazon recognized the content and understood that it was offensive, they started taking the merchandise down. They have also been directing buyers and sellers to their Offensive Products policy guide which prohibits such merchandise on their marketplace.

“We believe that Amazon agrees with the global Sikh community that much of the material deemed offensive should not be sold on their marketplace, but they still need to provide assurances that this material will not continue to be sold,” said Singh.

The Sikh Coalition remains in direct touch with Amazon’s team and is helping the company better identify problematic merchandise that could be offensive to Sikhs.

The Sikh Coalition

New York, New York

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