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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sikh Community issues Ultimatum to Guramit Singh, denounce EDL by Vaisakhi or face excommunication (UK)

Sikhs opposed to the English Defence League (EDL) have issued an ultimatum to Guramit Singh, spokesperson for the EDL who claims to be of Sikh heritage.

The ultimatum calls for Guramit Singh from Nottingham to publically denounce and distance himself from the EDL by the end of the Vaisakhi festival.

Vaisakhi is a Sikh religious festival that falls on April 13 and it is one of the most significant occasions for the Sikhs, commemorating the establishment of the Khalsa (martial Sikhism) in 1699 by the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh ji. This year will mark the 312th anniversary of this auspicious occasion and will be celebrated globally with recitals of religious hymns and prayers for world peace.

Should he (Guramit Singh) fail to do so the community will appeal to the highest political authority of the Sikhs, the Akal Takht in the holy city of Amritsar, Punjab, India to formally request excommunication orders for him to be permanently expelling from the Sikh faith for bringing it into disrepute.

The excommunication order, if passed could mean the EDL member being permanently shunned from all aspects of the Sikh community, although that would be an ultimate sanction.

It comes after the release of a joint statement condemning the EDL and its supporters from Sikh backgrounds. The joint statement which is supported by some of the UK’s largest Sikh Organisations and groups include Singh Sabha Gurdwara Southall (London) and Guru Nanak Nishkam Sevak Jatha (Birmingham).

It also follows recordings of Guramit Singh quoting Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs whilst delivering an offensive speech against the Muslim community.

Varinder Singh, an organiser of the ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign said:

“The Sikh Community has clearly condemned Guramit Singh’s public actions which are being used as a political stunt by the EDL and thereby bringing the Sikh faith into disrepute. His actions do not reflect the Sikh faith or the community and must be stopped to prevent further damage to inter-faith relations.

We believe because of his influence they carry the Sikh flag on their marches, use Sikh emblem and insignia in their propaganda and make on-sided and inflammatory statements about any past divisions between Sikhs and Muslims, including the partition.

We will be raising the concerns of our community leaders and will look to appeal to the Jathedar (Leader) of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, for him to formally issue excommunication orders should Guramit Singh decide not to denounce and distance himself from the EDL immediately.”

Balwinder Singh Rana, originator of the joint statement condemning the EDL said:

”Some of the largest Sikh and Hindu organisation in this country have signed our statement. We also have the full support of most of the Gurdwara’s (Sikh temples) and Mandirs (Hindu temples) in West London as well as East London.

In addition to this six Gurdwara’s in Birmingham, including the largest one, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, have pledged their support on our initiative.

Together with support from members of the wider community including Claude Moraes MEP, some MPs, a number of councillors and other prominent people as well as University Sikh Student Societies – we can confidently say that the tide is by far in our favour.”

He further added:”Guramit Singh claimed in the BBC program ‘Who’s Afraid of the EDL?’, that Sikhs have been trying to ‘protect the world from Islam for 300-400 years.’

However, anyone with the rudimentary knowledge of the Sikh religion would know that the Sikhs actually never fought against Islam. They only fought against the oppression and intolerance from some of the Mogul rulers.”

“The tenth and last living Guru of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, himself made it very clear 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.’

‘The temple or the mosque is 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.’ ”

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