It is necessary to distinguish between, and emphasize the difference between, Sikhism and the faith that it is being mistaken for.
The Sikh Coalition Board Chairman, Narinder Singh, said:
“I grew up here in the United States. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and I remember from the first Iran hostage situation to the first war in Iraq, to of course 9/11, and in each case we became a symbol of the other…. and it’s not about mistaken identity, this shouldn’t happen to anybody.”
This is mistaken identity. Like you said, we are “the other” in the United States. But why? Who is an American? What does he/she have to look like?
Furthermore, the Iran hostage situation, Iraq War, and 9/11 all have one thing in common. The “enemy”, or the other, were all predominantly of the same faith who we are being mistaken for.