A number of the largest Sikh and Hindu organisations in Britain have formally released a joint statement forcefully condemning the EDL and any Sikhs who join them. The latter is of course particularly applicable to the EDL’s “Sikh” spokesman Guramit (sometimes known as “Amit”) Singh; he was also one of the EDL members interviewed by BBC’s Newsnight as part of a documentary about the group which the programme showed earlier this week. As previously discussed on Pickled Politics, Guramit himself is currently being prosecuted by the police for “intentionally causing religiously aggravated harassment alarm or distress, under Section Four of the Public Order Act 1986”, following a public speech by Guramit which included the following remarks:
“I’m going to tell you precisely right now what threat of Islam is. Muhammad and Islam is not a religion… Muhammad was a paedophilic pirate… Islam, in not just this country but around the world, has been using their disgusting threat, their threat has been going on for 1400 years, “if you do not bow before Muhammad and his so-called Allah, you are to be beheaded”… Hitler had fuck all on Muhammad.
The Koran and the Hadiths is written in Arabic. Muslims are not allowed to be taught Arabic in the mosque. Muslims are told, “do not question what your Imam says, although they don’t even know what the Imam’s saying, because the Imam’s just a “Allah, fuck it”. Stick your Allah up your arse, you cunt. Fuck em, fuck em, fuck em. I’m not being funny, fuck em. I may get arrested for this shit, but fuck em, fuck em, I’m not having it, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em.”
The speech is available on Youtube. Guramit has also previously boasted on his Facebook page about his murderous hatred of Muslims:
“the muzzies wanna keep away from me im just looking for an excuse im fucked off at the mo fuck the pakis … i just think we shud burn the cunts now!!”
The full text of the joint statement by the aforementioned British Sikh and Hindu organisations condemning the EDL is as follows; the signatories so far also include the largest Sikh temple outside India, along with a number of other prominent Sikh and Hindu temples, numerous Sikh councillors, and a Member of Parliament:
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, anti-semitism and racism. The English Defence League (EDL) has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples).
Alongside this the British National Party (BNP) has received unprecedented electoral support for a fascist organisation in Britain.
They are using the old tactics of ‘divide and rule’ and are trying to divide the Asians by isolating the Muslim community. Furthermore, some misguided Sikh youth are letting themselves to be used by the EDL while a Sikh man has disgracefully joined the BNP. These people are helping to spread mistrust within our communities and we whole heartedly condemn their actions.
At a time of economic crisis with mass unemployment and impending deep public spending cuts – if the racists are allowed to make any further gains then we all would suffer from grave consequences. Thus we urge all Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews and people of other faiths to come together to strongly condemn the actions of these racist organisations and unite to turn back this tide of hatred.
• Sunny Singh, President, Sikh Society, Hertfordshire University
• Gurdev Kaur, President, Sikh Society, Imperial College, London
• Gulzar Singh Hanspal, Vice President, LSE Sikh-Punjab Society, London School of Economics
• B. S. Virk, President, Sikh Society,University College London (UCL)
• Jasdeep Singh, President, Sikh Society, Westminster University
• Surinder Singh Purewal, Gen. Sec., Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall
• Balvindar Singh, Vice President, British Sikh Council, U.K.
• Harmander Singh, Principal Advisor, Sikhs In England (SIE)
• Teja Singh, Gen. Sec., Sikh Missionary Society (U.K.)
• Jaspal Singh Bhamra, Gen. Sec., Ramgarhia Sabha, Southall
• Varinder Singh, Spokesperson, Turban Campaign
• Harsev Singh Bains, National Gen. Sec., Indian Workers Association (G.B.)
• Umesh Sharma, Chairman, Hindu Temple Trust, Southall
• Pyara Lal Sohi, President, Siri Guru Valmik Sabha, Southall
• Sarswati Sharma, Cultural Sec., Vishwa Hindu Mandir, Southall
• Balwindar Singh Rana, Spokesperson, Unite Against Fascism
• Virendra Sharma, M.P.
• R. Sansarpuri, Councillor, Hillingdon
• Darshan Singh Gurm, General Secretary, Singh Sabha London East Barking & Seven Kings.
• R. Singh, Spokesperson, Mata Sahib Kaur Sikh Academy, Newbury Park, Ilford.
• Gurcharan Singh, Councillor, Ealing Southall
• Gurjeev Nandra, President, Kings College London Sikh Society.
• Councillor Lakhbir Singh (Former Mayor of Luton), Labour Party, Luton
• Councillor Gurdial Bhamra, London Borough of Redbridge
• Councillor Balvir Sond, Hounslow West Ward
• Councillor Bally Singh, Coventry City Council
• Councillor Harjinder (Joe) Singh Naitta, Blagreaves Ward – Derby
• Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham
• Siri Dasmesh Sikh Temple, Birmingham
• Gurdwara Baba Sang ji, Birmingham
• Gurdwara Singh Sabha Akaal Darbar, Birmingham
• Shri Ravidass Dhawan, Birmingham
• Ramgharia Sikh Temple (Graham St.), Birmingham
• Amarbeer Singh Gill, President, Royal Holloway, University of London Sikh Society
• Saint Soldier, singer, Vancouver, British Columbia
• Amritpal Singh Burmy & Kulraj Singh Burmy (Tigerstyle), musicians, UK
• Taz (Stereo Nation), singer, Solihull, West Midlands
• Councillor Hardial Singh Rai, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
• Councillor Pavitar Kaur Mann, Slough Borough Council
• Jagjit Singh, singer, Indian ghazal maestro
• Professor Gurharpal Singh, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham
The EDL are planning a large demonstration in Luton on Saturday 5th February 2011. The EDL’s leader (and ex-BNP member & convicted criminal) “Tommy Robinson” aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight earlier this week (video available on Youtube) and he admitted that he is now opposed to Islam in general, not just extremist interpretations of the religion.
The EDL’s previous claims to be opposed “only to militant Islam” are further thrown into question by the fact that, for example, in October 2010 they held a large demonstration in Leicester, a city where the majority of British Asians are actually Gujarati Hindus. Furthermore, the rally was held during Navratri, a major annual Hindu festival which is of particular importance to Gujarati Hindus and which occurs just a couple of weeks before Diwali itself. I expect an “anti-Islam” rally by the EDL outside the Hare Krishna temple in Watford is next; and yes, I’m obviously being sarcastic, but you get my point.
Sikhism’s Guru Gobind Singh versus the EDL’s Guramit “Singh”
On Newsnight, Guramit was shown to be poring over numerous out-of-context quotes from the Quran along with openly referring to Islam as “evil”. Since Guramit was also visibly wearing a ‘kara’ – the steel bangle which, like Guramit’s surname “Singh”, is a direct historical legacy of the formation of the Khalsa in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh — perhaps Guramit’s time would be better spent researching Sikhism’s actual views on Islam, Muslims, and Allah.
Suitable starting points would include the fact that the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was laid by a Muslim saint upon the invitation of the Sikh Guru at the time, on land granted to the Sikhs by a Muslim emperor; the architecture of the Golden Temple itself was specifically designed to reflect a pluralistic, multi-faith ethos, open to all, and symbolising both the unity of God irrespective of what name people call their deity by and the unity of mankind irrespective of what religious affiliation people may identify themselves by; “Allah” and Muslims are explicitly included. Or the fact that the 6th Sikh Guru Hargobind, who began the process of militarising the Sikhs by raising a standing army and whose successor provided military assistance to the Mughal crown prince Dara Shukoh, also had a mosque built for the ordinary Muslims who had settled in the town he’d founded in Punjab; the mosque was recently renovated by a joint project in India consisting of Sikh and Muslim volunteers; considerable assistance was provided by the Sikh group known as “Nihangs”, who historically formed the most dedicated professional soldiers of the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh’s Khalsa army.
Other examples include the fact that the Sikh scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, include numerous hymns originally written by Muslims along with Islamic names for God such as “Allah”. Or the fact that the final version of the Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by Guru Gobind Singh, who was also responsible for fully militarising the Sikh population and creating the Khalsa; the Guru Granth Sahib condemns bigotry and extremism (religious or otherwise), but Guru Gobind Singh did not add a single word disparaging “Allah” or attacking Muslims en masse or denigrating Islam as a whole. Or the fact that all of the Sikh Gurus had numerous Muslim allies and supporters, including Guru Gobind Singh himself, whose army included senior Muslim officers and whose own life was proactively saved by several Muslims during one of the very worst periods he ever experienced in his lifetime. After the death of the fanatical Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh provided military assistance to one of Aurangzeb’s more liberal sons during the war of succession and played a pivotal role in facilitating the prince’s victory, for which the new Mughal emperor – Bahadur Shah I – subsequently publicly honoured Guru Gobind Singh with the formal title “Pir-i-Hind”, meaning “Saint of India”.
As a stark contrast to the EDL’s bigoted views, including their spokesman Guramit “Singh’s” disgusting remarks about Islam, Muslims and Allah, Guru Gobind Singh succinctly made his own stance very clear indeed in the Akal Ustat:
“Someone calls himself a Hindu, another a Turk, someone a Shia, another a Sunni. Recognise the whole of humanity as one race……
He the One is the only God of us all: it is His Form, His Light that is diffused in all…..
The temple or the mosque are the same, the Hindu worship or the Muslim prayer are the same; all humans are the same, it is through error they appear different…..it is the one God who created all.
The Hindu God and the Muslim God are the same; let no man even by mistake suppose there is a difference.”
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
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Filed in: EDL,Hindu,Muslim,Religion,Sikh