SAN DIEGO, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A group of Sikh men attending a Broncos-Chargers game in California say they were hassled by Qualcomm Stadium security for wearing turbans last Sunday.
Three of the men wore Broncos-orange turbans to the event, for which they were close to being turned away from entering the stands, KGTV reports. They were eventually let in to the game, but not before being warned not to wear turbans to the stadium in the future.
"It's bad, I mean, this is embarrassing for me, because we are Americans at the end of the day," one of the men, Verinder Malhi, told KGTV. "And we're not supposed to be afraid of fellow Americans."
In addition to facing alleged discrimination at the gates of the stadium, the police were reportedly called after a tailgater reported the men for "messing with boxes" in the trunk of their car. An officer and a bomb-sniffing dog were sent to the scene to investigate during the game.
The incident comes amid national social and political tension between non-Muslims and those of the Muslim faith. However, the Sikh religion is unrelated to Islam, and was founded in India.
"Everybody kind of confusing us with the turbans, because what you see on TV is mostly the terrorists. They wear turbans," Malhi said, "but our turbans are different, our faith is different, our beliefs are different. That's what I believe."
Last weekend, a California Sikh temple was reportedly vandalized in a possible hate crime. The temple's parking lot walls were sprayed with anti-Islamic State and anti-Islam messages. The crime took place days after attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., were linked to radical Islam and almost a month after the Paris terrorist attacks.
In the wake of the attacks, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey produced a Facebook video calling on citizens to arm themselves and train for the possibility of an "active shooter scenario" happening at any time, despite warning against vigilantism. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun," he says. Short of that, he encouraged viewers to report suspicions of "anyone who causes you concern."
"If your suspicions turn out to be wrong, that's OK, as we will all still be safe." The video went viral and has since been viewed more than 4.6 million times on Facebook.
Law enforcement officials across the country have shared similar messages. In Arizona, the controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his "goal of utilizing 250,000 citizens with concealed weapons is to stop the carnage, stop the killing before cops arrive."