More trouble in Birmingham


by Sunny
21st June, 2007 at 2:46 pm    

The head of a Birmingham Sikh temple and his family had to flee their home after it was targeted by arsonists in what is believed to have been been a reprisal attack for allowing a mixed marriage.

Three cars were set ablaze outside the Handsworth Wood home of Jarnail Singh Bhogal, president of the Ramgharia Sikh Gurdwara in Graham Street, Hockley. The attack in the early hours of yesterday comes in the wake of protests against the marriage, the details of which were posted on an online Sikh forum naming the temple leaders. [Birmingham Post]

This follows that recent march in B’ham of Sikhs ‘against extremism’. Looks to me as if there are some people in the Midlands intent on creating trouble. Someone has also pointed me to this shadowy group being behind some of the trouble. Anyone know more about them?


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  1. leon — on 21st June, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

    Sikh Awarenes Society? SAS for short? Well considered name then…

  2. leon — on 21st June, 2007 at 2:54 pm  

    According to their about page they’ve been around for a while:

    The Sikh Awareness Society (SAS) was established in 1998 amongst growing concerns of the ‘grooming’ of our youth.
    In Britain today Sikh youth are still actively targeted on the basis of their religion and history. This historically linked hate-crime causes much emotional distress to the families involved with the majority of these cases ending up in abuse.

    Under common Punjabi mentality, these issues are still considered ‘taboo’ and are rarely addressed by the Gurdwara Sahibs, and Sikh community leaders. Therefore the victims of this hate-crime tend to suffer in silence.

    The SAS was initially set up to deal with these issues. Since 1998 the SAS has grown to tackle many more issues affecting the Sikh community and the Sikh youth in Britain today.

    We are now regarded as a leading independent Sikh advisory board, speaking for the concerns of the Sikh Sangat.

    The SAS originally operated as a discreet, confidential service, providing counselling and support to the West Midlands Sikh community.

    Due to an increasing number of calls from distressed Sikh families; in April 2006 we decided to expand our services and go nationwide, to address the Sikh Sangat to the issues and problems facing our community.

    We initially started out in ‘problem areas’ i.e. towns/cities where we knew of serious hate-crime in the past. We quickly came to realise it is a national problem and far more deep-rooted.

    http://www.sasorg.co.uk/about.html

  3. Inders — on 21st June, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

    a mixed marriage ?

    did a man marry a donkey ?

  4. Muzumdar — on 21st June, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    As Leon discovered, SAS has been about for ages – I remember some ‘activists’ approaching me in my university heyday.

    As someone in the know about such matters, I feel that I should fill in a few gaps before people, and I’m mentioning no names, get overly excited and begin to point to Taleban/Islamist/Jihadic parallels.

    The marriage in question was performed according to Orthodox Sikh rites (Anand Karaj).

    The male in question was born a Muslim (hence his surname was Khan) however, in the presence of five Tat Khalsa (Orthodox/Baptised) Sikhs he changed his name and declared his allegiance to Sikhism.

    The female was just some Sikh girl.

    I’m not quite sure why the ultra-Orthodox are up in arms and burning Nissan Micras…I’ll do some digging.

  5. sonia — on 21st June, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    for allowing a mixed marriage.

    goodness.

  6. Muzumdar — on 21st June, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    for allowing a mixed marriage.

    Well, this is why I’m somewhat perplexed: it wasn’t even a ‘mixed’ marriage.

    The Gurdwara in question appears to confirm my sources’ info: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070620/world.htm#5

  7. Crystal — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:25 pm  

    I have witnessed an SAS talk in my local Gurudwara and must admit felt bit uncomfortable and somewhat taken back, not in a positive way.

    There is an obvious sinister drive in their presentation portraying Islam as the clear cut enemy to modern day Sikhism. The agenda seems to have a large male youth following and you can see that in attendance at the Gurdwaras where they carry out their power-point presentations. The Gurudwara committees need to be more responsible on who they allow to present within their premises. If not monitored Sikhs could end up with their very own Abu Hamza and his cronies

  8. sonia — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:25 pm  

    well some would say inter-religious is ‘mixed’ is that you meant muzumdar.

  9. Twining or Black in Blue — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

    Who is burning Nissan Micras? It’s a crime to burn these fine cars. Islam is not a threat to anyone, just as Sikhsim is not a threat. The threat to humanity is the fundamentalists within all groups. Please let me know who is burning Micras.

  10. Crystal — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    Twining or Black in Blue

    I think they were Toyota Corrollas not Micras!

  11. leon — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

    for allowing a mixed marriage.

    goodness.

    Indeed, whatever next? People being allowed to choose their own partners? Or maybe things will get really nuts and people will be allowed to live their life according to their wishes not controlled by their ‘community’ ‘faith’ or some misguided notion of ‘shame’…

  12. Muzumdar — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

    sonia

    If you actually read what I wrote you’ll see that it wasn’t ‘inter-religious’ at all.

    Crystal

    power-point presentations

    Damn, things really have moved on. Powerpoint? Well, most of these kids are IT grads I suppose.

    The Gurudwara committees need to be more responsible on who they allow to present within their premises

    Problem is, Gurdwara committees are, generally, just about the most corrupt organisations on the planet, so when the youth say to them: ‘let us use the hall, or we’ll be forced to expose your hedonistic night-time outings, KFC buffets and prolific embezzlement of Gurdwaara funds’, the committee doesn’t really have a leg to stand on.

    That said, most of the youth have their hearts in the right place and I’ve certainly never seen anything even close to ‘Abu Hamza’ type speeches.

  13. Sunny — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

    Are you going to lecture us on tackling bigotry and prejudice again Muzumdar?

  14. Muzumdar — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:00 pm  

    Only if you want me to…

  15. sid — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:09 pm  

    Some Sikh’s mothers are bigger than other Sikh’s mothers

  16. Ismaeel — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:15 pm  

    Why don’t u go to one of their meetings and find out for yourself Sunny or would that be too much like real journalism?

  17. inders — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:15 pm  

    stop sid

    oh, oh , oh stop sid

    stop sid cuz

    i think i’ve heard that one before

  18. sid — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:24 pm  

    An old friend’s (Sikh) sister married a Muslim man. Neither of them practice any particular faith. Their mother accepted it, sadly the father never did. But only because of peer pressure from his, first generation, peers for whom this is certainly a bugbear. And seems to be for some of their childen, evidently.

  19. Don — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:27 pm  

    I’m starting to warm to Muzumdar. He may or may not be slightly bonkers about Khalistan, I’m in no position to judge, and he certainly showed a tendency to prod people in the ribs on remarkably short acquaintance. But on other issues he has made some good points.

  20. Sunny — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    Hello Ismaeel. I see the smell of controversy and the chance to get your name into the limelight as encouraged you to send out lame press releases again. Any luck with getting people to take your org seriously yet?

    Muzumdar – actually, no. Pot, kettle, black and all that.

  21. Ismaeel — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

    Oh Sunny, ur too easy, too easy by half

  22. Muzumdar — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    sid

    What a beautiful story. A tear drop has just fallen onto the ‘P’ button on my keyboard…

    Now that I’ve wiped it away, let me reiterate: the marriage involved two Sikhs (albeit nominal).

    Hence I’m perplexed as to the arson, blind rage and statements of condemnation.

  23. sid — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:59 pm  

    Hence I’m perplexed as to the arson, blind rage and statements of condemnation.

    I would you say you’re pretty close as damnit as far represenatational of the, erm, “blind rage and statements of condemantion” is concerned. Perhaps a little bit of reflexive soul searching might not go amiss right about now. Online, of course.

  24. Roger — on 21st June, 2007 at 7:04 pm  

    If the man stopped being a [nominal] muslim and became a [nominal] sikh, wouldn’t it be muslims who objected, not sikhs, unless it is the question of the sincerity of his conversion that annoys them?

  25. inders — on 21st June, 2007 at 7:05 pm  

    lol nominal ?

    Is that a class of sikh ?

  26. Don — on 21st June, 2007 at 7:09 pm  

    Pawns in a powerplay?

  27. Muzumdar — on 21st June, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

    Roger

    This is what gets me: this (nominal) Muslim bloke went to all the trouble of dealing with a Gurdwara Committee, changing his name, changing his (nominal) faith and prostrating himself before Sikh Scriptures…

    That’s pretty sincere in anyone’s book.

  28. Roger — on 21st June, 2007 at 7:44 pm  

    “That’s pretty sincere in anyone’s book.”
    Perhaps, Muzumdar, but was it his belief or his love that was sincere?
    I was thinking of a friend who had to convert to islam to marry. After going through all the bother, including getting circumcised, he explained that as far as he was concerned the only difference between being a christian and a muslim was which set of religious customs he was going to ignore.

  29. Muzumdar — on 21st June, 2007 at 7:57 pm  

    Roger

    Perhaps, Muzumdar, but was it his belief or his love that was sincere?

    Well, it was probably his love.

    But I seriously doubt that the faithful are burning economical Japanese cars because he wasn’t ‘Sikh enough’.

    I know that there are some pretty thick people up north, especially brown folk, but this seems slightly beyond the pale.

    If this is the pretext that they used for the torchings, then soon not many Sikhs will be left with cars at all – Japanese or otherwise.

    My suspicions, based on people I’ve spoken to, are that people weren’t aware of the facts (he changed his name/faith/etc) and just heard the words ‘Muslim’, ‘man’, ‘Sikh’, ‘girl’, ‘married’ and ‘Gurdwara’ and then set out on a rampage.

    Poor form, I must say.

  30. Twining or Black in Blue — on 21st June, 2007 at 9:23 pm  

    “I know that there are some pretty thick people up north, especially brown folk, but this seems slightly beyond the pale.”

    Muzamdar honestly, are all Brown people in the North thick or just most or some of us Brown people from the North? And North of What exactly, Wembley dear fellow?

  31. Rumbold — on 21st June, 2007 at 9:51 pm  

    “I’m starting to warm to Muzumdar. He may or may not be slightly bonkers about Khalistan, I’m in no position to judge, and he certainly showed a tendency to prod people in the ribs on remarkably short acquaintance. But on other issues he has made some good points.”

    Just what I was thinking.

  32. Don — on 21st June, 2007 at 9:59 pm  

    Only you thought it in colour.
    ;)

  33. lithcol — on 21st June, 2007 at 10:24 pm  

    Extremists Sikhs, Muslims, Catholics, Nationalist ( BNP ), Respect etc. What a load of bloody wankers. I’ve had a hard day and feel like spilling some bile but unfortunately haven’t the energy. I hope the bastards who carried out this outrage are caught soonest and punished accordingly.

  34. nobodyshero — on 21st June, 2007 at 11:53 pm  

    what colour was the micra

  35. tanvir — on 22nd June, 2007 at 2:15 am  

    I went to a some Sikh Soc meetings when I was at uni, just out of interest and also because I knew some mates going there. One powerpoint presentation about sikh history (maybe it the same guy going round the country or just the same presentation everyone’s emailed each other?) spent a considerable amount of time on how Muslims persecute(d) Sikhs but the impression it gave just didnt seem right. i was kind if indifferent to it, as i really didnt know the historical facts myself, and regarding the more questionable message about Islam Vs Sikhism i just put down to misunderstanding. Was funny how after the talk though the president of the sikh soc was profoundly apologising to me whilst i was just telling him to chill out i wasnt too bothered, sort the presentation out instead!

  36. Neil — on 22nd June, 2007 at 8:58 am  

    What is the situation wrt the insurance claims if my car is burnt in a riot or arson attack, will I get a new car ?

    As for the attack it seems stupid since the guy ‘converted’ to Sikhism in order to marry her. If it was the other way round (i.e. girl to Islam) then I could see why they would get angry.

  37. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 22nd June, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    As for the attack it seems stupid since the guy ‘converted’ to Sikhism in order to marry her. If it was the other way round (i.e. girl to Islam) then I could see why they would get angry.

    Perphaps they didn’t believe him?

  38. sonia — on 22nd June, 2007 at 12:11 pm  

    attacks are stupid full stop, they are rarely based on ‘informed decision-making’.

  39. Roger — on 22nd June, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

    “attacks are stupid full stop, they are rarely based on ‘informed decision-making’.”

    No more are religious beliefs. Or love

  40. Neil — on 22nd June, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    Roger I disagree if you look at practices of many Eastern faiths (especially Vedanta in Hinduism, Buddhism etc) they follow have a strong rational and well thought out methods to practices they advocate.

  41. Phil — on 22nd June, 2007 at 4:39 pm  

    Strange how everyone seems to have dismissed the fact thst sikh awareness group may be right about having a legitimate interest to protect.

  42. nobodys hero — on 22nd June, 2007 at 4:44 pm  

    The two events are linked because some local journalist is saying so.where is the evidence, have we had any arrestS.iS It all earsay. Cars down my estate have been burnt, they are not ownd by priests conducting mix marriages

  43. Muzumdar — on 22nd June, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    legitimate interest to protect

    Protect who from what?

  44. Roger — on 22nd June, 2007 at 6:32 pm  

    The practises of many faiths may be rational, Neil; that does not mean the faiths themselves are.

  45. arnia — on 22nd June, 2007 at 7:48 pm  

    I ended up at one of these talks still in shock

    posted this on barfi

    that guy mohan singh

    ive heard him do one of his lectures in the gurudwara

    hes an utter nut job and the things he says can cause serious problems for the sikh community

    welcome to the world of sikh extremists …..preaching hate………telling sikhs not to watch tv this guy had a particular problem with sony tv for some reason…..boycott all hindu (as hindus are resposible or 1984) and muslim ( they convert sikh girls) businesses never trust either one of these partuicularly not the muslims they are evil ……..what else did he say move away from areas where muslims live avoid trusting hindus and he also said which i found funny exact quote
    “jeh tuhsi shah rukh khan dekhna twadeh kar vich vi shah rukh khan ni aahna”

    and then scaring all the sangat into not allowing their daughters to go far away to study as they may come back converted or married to a gora or worse still muslim or even worse a black muslim it was quite funny in a sick kind of way only because i remain unaffected by his little rant and he seriously did seem really frustrated by it so little time and so much to say

    this guy was just using obscence scare tactics to mould these grannys and youngsters into his way of thinking…..actually its quite frightening how his tactics were working

    I found the next bit really stuipid he went on to talk about how he was about to play some video footage of a attack on a sikh lad by muslims he then went on to play a black and white CCTV video clip of a guy who could not be identifed becasue the video was so bad being attacked by a group of youths and neither could thier ethnic origin be identified so whilst ranting on about this attack on a sikh youth my cousin prods me and points out that in the bottom corner it clearly said CCTV footage of attack on white youth by an asian group of youths and that was the icing on the cake i cracked up laughing an had i courage i would have stood up and said what you going on about you nob blatently bullshitting in a gurudwara of all places

    i think we all know what the agenda is here and its a grim reality that some of the sikh community are falling for it

    If any brainwashing is going on anywhere its in the gurudwareh where this guy and his little gang are preaching

    If this guy comes again to give one of his lectures im going to call the police hed be arrested for causing racial incitement which he should be

    I think this SAS group needs to be looked into and possibly banned I know one thing id rather have my kid happiliy playing with his muslim and hindu firends than having this guy down the gurudwara brainwasing them

    Seriously frightening what these people are trying to mould sikhism into …..really scary stuff i heard this guy speaking and was shocked the gurudwara allowed it and theyre always distributing stuipid leaflets every sunday

    im thinking of going to a different gurudwara from now on ….flippin looneys weve got our very own abu hamza in the form of mohan singh

    and what really annoyed me were these 10 -15 lads stood at the doors to the entrance of the hall as if theyre standing on guard or something then they all shuffle this geezer of and of they go dont hang around for the ardas or keertan do their little brainwashing and then off they go leaving the grannys all chanting “waheguru waheguru” i actually heard one woman behind me go “dehkdi ahh ji nikki wolverhampton jandi ah etheh parai kareh”

    i mean thats one girl nikki whoever she is thats just had her , im assuming uni plans cut short.

    these fanatics are just trying to repress people into their way of thinking

    i recorded it on my mobile because it was so ridiculous

  46. arnia — on 22nd June, 2007 at 8:08 pm  

    sunny if you go to this link

    http://www.sasorg.co.uk/art.html

    and then click on women and sikhism you will get a taste of some of the literature this group disributes

    i find it quite disturbing that they slate other relgions

  47. arnia — on 22nd June, 2007 at 10:42 pm  

    Lack of time and extreme laziness combined with a few more things to do requiring more urgent attention produced the above.

    You catch my drift anyhow ……….apologies to all for the complete and utter disgraceful puncuation and grammer.

    You happy now Muzamdar ……now try to be less patronizing

    You clearly have no idea the impact this group is having partuclarly amongst the sikh youth at the momment in the midlands

  48. nobodyshero — on 22nd June, 2007 at 11:42 pm  

    i better you all live in rosey leafy suburbs where the only crime is putting your rubbish in wrong coloured bin.Every ones gets on with each other a sociologist dream. These groups dont exist unless they have the backing of the community. What has led to their formation . Are they the problem or the result of a problem

  49. Katy Newton — on 23rd June, 2007 at 12:49 am  

    Hence the SAS’s literature, power point presentations and lame talks can be seen in the light of a tit-for-tat ‘ideological’ – and I use that term extremely loosely – war with champaigne Islamist groups, rather than in the light of ‘extremism for extremism’s sake’.

    To be honest, that tit for tat argument is the sort of one-size-fits-all explanation that all extremist groups put forward for their extremism. Unfortunately, there is not a religion on the planet that doesn’t have a lunatic fringe of some sort.

  50. douglas clark — on 23rd June, 2007 at 1:36 am  

    Katy,

    You are quite right. But so is arnia.

    Mainstream religious institutions should not be giving brain dead morons like that house room.

    Now, that is a disgrace.

    nobodyshero,

    They are the problem because they couldn’y think their way through an arguement without lying. See arnia’s post 45 above.

    my cousin prods me and points out that in the bottom corner it clearly said CCTV footage of attack on white youth by an asian group of youths and that was the icing on the cake

    Do you want morons to lead you? Are you willing to be told lies to reinforce prejudice?

  51. Katy Newton — on 23rd June, 2007 at 1:38 am  

    I was agreeing with arnia.

  52. douglas clark — on 23rd June, 2007 at 2:19 am  

    Katy,

    So was I. I just thought it was worth spelling out that no mainstream religion should give any house room to nutters. As a matter of principle. I know you implied it….

  53. Jini — on 23rd June, 2007 at 8:50 pm  

    Hmmm !
    I think Arnia ia a Sikh hater posing as a Sikh.
    I think most of the posters here are well intentioned aeithiest socialists, and lets face it, you lefties just dont get religon or family do you?. I know I used to be one, before new labours spin doctoring turned me off politics.

    However I read your posts occasionally because some of you are very perceptive.

    Anyway, lets try and dispell a few myths shall we, before you start blaming the Sikhs for all the worlds ills, like the nazis and the talabani’s try to blame the jews fopr all the worlds ills.

    1-I saw the SAS presentation in april 07 at a Bham Gurudwara and it was nothing like Arnia described.
    2-I, like 99% of the sangat, had never even heard of mohan singh before then, all were left very impressed with the factual information given. Particularly the use of taquiri clause by talabani wahabi muslims to tell any lie, break any promise, commit any crime in order to convert and brainwash youth. apparently msulims only commit a sin if it is done aganist muslims, therefore the 7/7 bombers will go to paradise, as they killed mainly non-muslims, and the odd muslim who got in the way, well if you live in the UK, you have to accept you might be a casualty of jihad.
    3- Uni’s are dangerous places now, according to the police and nhs, where drugs, guns, sexual diseases & extremist ideologies have increased significantly in recent yrs. Sikh parents are increasingly discouraging higer education, after all whats the point when you slog your guts out, only to end up in a call centre anyway, with a £10,000 debt to pay?
    4- 99% of 20 soemthings like me, were unaware of the historical facts which SAS presented. e.g.
    The Sikh people are the only people to endure three genocides (in the 1700′s at the hands of taliban type muslims and 1984 at the hands of Indira’s congress) where about 50% of their population was exterminated inthe 1700′s (according to euro historians)and about 200,000 in the 1980/90′s (according to amnesty international).
    When the Sikh homeland, the Punjab, was partioned by the British, in 1947, 66% was given away to the muslims, the rest to Nehrus congress India, and the sikhs made homeless.
    The sikhs dont blame hindus or any faith for the 1984 pogroms or earlier genocides, they blame Indira’s congress and Aurnagzebs extremist regime, and the west for sweeping the genocide pogrom under the carpet. (maybe because India is a superficial democracy which is able to pull strings to ensure the truth remains supressed)
    5- and here is the crux of the issue, sikh college girls have been converted to islam, only to revert to sikhism, years later, complaining of how they were manipulated by clever muslims and feeling let down that their sikh parents were complacent for not fore warning them, etc
    6- there is no evidence that this car burning was done by Sikhs, and hello, they burned cars, not people. not exactly the same as 7/7 bombings is it? it could have been someone with a personal gripe against mr bhogal.
    7- graham st gurudwara have issued a public apology, so evidently they now realise some mistakes were made. although im not clear exactly what they have apologised for.
    8- sikhs dont convert anyone, they just want to live and let live, very hard to do that when their children are being brainwashed into converting into a community, which has a long history of persecution against sikhs, and where the converts could be turned into suicide bombers.
    9- If anyone of you wants to meet me, please come to wheelers st gurudwara next sunday, at noon and ask for dr kaur, happy to have tea and talk, as i only log onto this site occasionally when i can get my kids off the PC, and i dont like internet chatting.
    10- there are vicous murderous fanatics in every community, but mohan singh is not one of them, so check your facts out before you malign someone who is regarded as a community servant.

  54. inders — on 24th June, 2007 at 1:45 am  

    A doctor preaching against higher education.

    I’ll be a monkeys uncle.

  55. Sunny — on 24th June, 2007 at 2:14 am  

    Jini: You’re a 20 something doctor who has kids old enough to use the PC?
    How many aliases have these people from Sikh Paranoia Awareness Society got?

    I think Arnia ia a Sikh hater posing as a Sikh.

    Typical. Aren’t you people ever original?

    and here is the crux of the issue, sikh college girls have been converted to islam, only to revert to sikhism, years later, complaining of how they were manipulated by clever muslims and feeling let down that their sikh parents were complacent for not fore warning them, etc

    First, you have no evidence. Second, you have no faith in the intelligence of Sikh women. Third, all your immature and badly constructed rant sounds like is another bigot saying: Oh don’t ever trust those Muslims, they just want to secretly convert our women and whisk them away to Pakistan.

    I really fret for the intelligence of some British Sikhs today. Too much time on their hands. Please go find a proper job and something useful to do with your life.

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