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Sikh-Muslim Dialogue, 4-6th July 2008:
Posted by: Jagjit Singh (IP Logged)
Date: October 01, 2008 05:45AM

Attached is the final report by some of us, the Sikh participants at Corrymeela. We felt the faith matters report was in our opinion not reflective of the event and issues raised at corrymeela and afterwards. Below is the press release from us. Please forward.....

From: Jagdeesh Singh [mailto:animalspirit2002@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: 30 September 2008 22:49

Subject: Sikh-Muslim Dialogue, 4-6th July 2008: Criticised as Faulty and Constricted - Sikh Participants Release Report

Sikh Commission on Race & Cohesion
Promoting Sikh perspectives & participation in Community Cohesion

CONTACT: Jagdeesh Singh | animalspirit2002@yahoo.co.uk | 07827-321036


PRESS RELEASE: 1st October 2008
GOVERNMENT FUNDED MUSLIM-SIKH DIALOGUE
CRITICISED AS ‘FAULTY’ & ‘CONSTRICTED’

Many Sikh participants in a recent government funded Muslim-Sikh dialogue1, have said the initiative was ‘faulty’ and ‘constricted‘. They say it failed to allow a clear and comprehensive discussion on core issues that define tensions between Muslim and Sikh populations2 in the UK.
Aggrieved Sikh participants say only 20% of the specially organised 3-day dialogue, over 4-6th July 2008, was spent on core issues3. The rest, they say, was directed into generic discussions and cultural befriending activities. “An important opportunity for engaged dialogue about Sikh experiences and fears about Islamic conversion, kaffirism and social separatism; was vitally missed.”
Sikh participants say these prickly issues were genuine, fundamental concerns. However, they were met with palpable shock by both the organisers and the Muslim participants. “Whilst the deep felt Sikh experiences and concerns were clearly and calmly presented; the response from the Muslim participants was one of dismissal and rejection and nervous avoidance by the organisers and facilitators.” The organising body, FAITH MATTERS, was subsequently quoted as describing the expressed concerns as ‘myths’4.
FAITH MATTERS published an official report about the dialogue, on 9th September 2008. Several Sikh participants have compiled an alternative report (copy attached) of the whole experience, as they feel the official report does not capture the Sikh experience precisely and fully. They are recommending that, both reports are carefully considered by the government and other bodies working on ‘community cohesion’. The 18-page Sikh report details the seven key issues raised by Sikhs in the dialogue, and explains the serious dissatisfaction with the methodology used.
The report gives observations and recommendations about public engagement of ‘community cohesion’ issues affecting Sikhs and various other communities in the UK; including a common sense of concern about issues emanating from the Muslim population.
A copy of both reports are being forwarded to Hazel Blears (Minister for Communities and Local Government), the Sikh Parliamentary Group chaired by Rob Marris MP and other key figures concerned with community cohesion. Rob Marris MP has very recently written to Hazel Blears5 asking for detailed information on “what steps your department is taking, to ensure that Sikhs and the other groups…are not being left out” of ’community cohesion’ .

- THE END -
GOVERNMENT FUNDED MUSLIM-SIKH DIALOGUE, 1st October 2008
FURTHER INFORMATION
1. The dialogue was organised on 4-6 July 2008, at the famous Corrymeela peace centre in Northern Ireland. Fifteen Muslim participants and nine Sikh participants, drawn from Slough, Derby, Coventry, London and Yorkshire, participated in the special weekend dialogue.
2. The dialogue was organised by Faith Matters (www.faith-matters.co.uk), and delivered through a set of facilitators from the famous Corrymeela centre, experienced in Northern Ireland tension issues. Faith Matters received government funding of £30,000 (‘Sikh Of It!’, Eastern Eye, 14th March 2008), from the Department for Communities & Local Communities, to organise discussion on issues of social tension between the two communities.
3. Both Sikh and Muslim participants raised separate, independent issues. Sikh participants raised several core issues around: Islamic conversion campaigns; derogatory labelling of Sikhs as ‘kaffirs’; and, general social segregation and separatism in Muslim communities. Sikh participants feel there was a distinct lack of focus on these pivotal issues.
Sikhs detailed their concerns, as:
a. Systematic harassment and bullying of Sikh, Hindu, Jewish children, and youth from the host communities.
b. Use of the misleading word ‘asian’ in the media and public policy.
c. The word “kaffir” should be termed as a racially and religiously hostile.
d. Devastating impact of 9/11 on the Sikh community, unrecognised and unacknowledged.
e. An investigation into the issues surrounding the “mothers for prevention” case in West Yorkshire. We wish to see if similar behaviour of “grooming” is happening in other cities.
f. Proportionate state funding that muslim community is getting, to be made available to Sikh communities to provide support for its members.
g. Sikh ethnic monitoring.

These are fully detailed in the attached report (see page 7) from Sikh participants.

4. Fiyaz Mughal, Director of Faith Matters was quoted in the Eastern Eye, 18th July 2008 : [www.easterneyeonline.co.uk]
5. On 23th September 2008, the Sikh Commission on Race & Cohesion wrote a detailed email to Rob Marris MP and John Spellar MP, Chair and Co-Chair of the Sikh Affairs Parliamentary Group, on the subject of Sikh concerns about the government’s exclusionary ‘community cohesion’ agenda and the gross lack of inclusion of Sikhs and other diverse communities like English, Scottish, Greek, Italian, Polish and Jewish. In response, Rob Marris MP wrote, on 25th September, to Hazel Blears: “Based on my own experience, there is a large number of Sikhs who feel that, when it comes to community cohesion, their needs are overlooked. Therefore, I should be grateful if you, or one of your colleagues, could let me know, in some detail, what steps your department if taking, to ensure that Sikhs and the other groups to which Mr Singh refers, are not being left out (however inadvertently).”
6. Sikh activists have long expressed anxiety about the government’s ‘community cohesion’ strategy, which they believe is centred on befriending the Muslim populations and discriminates and ignores the rest of the UK diverse communities. Sikh activists say, there is no evidence of the British government reaching out and engaging other communities. They say the government’s predominant focus on the Muslim community is having a divisive, discriminatory and alienating affect on many other communities.

- END -

One God: Waheguru
One Guru : Sahib Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
One Group : Guru Khalsa Panth!

This should be the Motto of Our Generation

 



Re: Sikh-Muslim Dialogue, 4-6th July 2008:
Posted by: Singh. (IP Logged)
Date: October 01, 2008 12:16PM

I am a Singh from Yorkshire and the academic university year has just started last week. Already I have been started on by Muslim youths on 4 separate occassions within 2 weeks, including today for no apparant reason other than wearing dumala/bana and being Sikh.

The situation is getting quiet bad here with these guys (Pakistanis).

 



Re: Sikh-Muslim Dialogue, 4-6th July 2008:
Posted by: Atma Singh (IP Logged)
Date: October 02, 2008 02:57AM

ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖ਼ਾਲਸਾਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫ਼ਤਹਿ

veer 'singh' jee,

pls email me your details so i can pass them on to those who can help you do something about this. it is VERY important that this happens.

even if you don't want anything done re: your specific situation, we need this kind of vital evidence/personal 1st hand accounts so that the general situation can be evidenced.

without being able to do so, some of the muslim figures will continue dismissing sikh concerns as 'myths', 'scare-mongering' etc.

look forward to hearing from you.

ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖ਼ਾਲਸਾਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫ਼ਤਹਿ

ਦਾਸ,
ਆਤਮਾ ਸਿੰਘ

 



Re: Sikh-Muslim Dialogue, 4-6th July 2008:
Posted by: Jagjit Singh (IP Logged)
Date: October 02, 2008 07:27AM

Vaheguru ji ka khalsa vaheguru ji ke fateh

Pyare jio, i would ask people not to be so easily dismissive of things. When someone puts something on any forum, you always get an internet hero coming armchair comments. The reality is that we live in an inter-dependant world. The actions of one group, do affect others. We see Sikhs countless times complaining about muslims and how their actions have affected sikhs.

The report is 18 pages long. I had asked the Gursikhs at tapoban to attach it here as a attachment. I assume they have been busy. But if you go to this other forum and you can open it from the attchmnet.
[forums.panthic.net]

Social separatism is what the government wants, it is not something we have brought into the equation, however if it can hapen then good. We all benefit from a socially cohesive society.

People have been continually asking sikhs for their opinions, and now we have given some. The muslims have already threatened to sue us, so clearly they are not happy for sikhs to have our independant vioce.

In the original Faith matters report, which was written by a muslim, we felt it was very bias. There was talk of sikhs working with BNP, and radicalisation of sikh youth. We disagreed with this, because sikh youth are not blowing up buses and trains in London. We felt you could not equate radicalisation of muslim youth with the Sikh experince of growing up in UK. neither did we wish to be tarnished by their brush.

Further they mention sikh history painting in gurdwaras, causing islamophobia. We responded stating these experinces are historical fact, and as a result of the Islamic pholosophy of "kaffarism" which is something that we feel is not helpful and constructive to community relations. This concept does nothing other than creating an artificial superiority.

We feel this is far deeper than the simpleton language being used in thier report. Hence we have put together a detailed 18 page report with evidence. We believe it is vital that we express our opinions in a concise and professional manner to decision makers in UK.

i would urge all to read this report and if you support it, write to your Mps, and ask them to raise this issue with hazel blears MP.

vaheguru ji kakhalsa, vaheguru ji kefateh

P.s. - Report section 4 - The Sikh Core issues

4. THE SIKH CORE ISSUES

Upon reaching the Corrymeela site, the Sikh participants held a brief meeting and consolidated the core issues that we wished to raise into the following key points. These were:

1. Sikhs unhappy with systematic harassment and bullying of Sikh, Hindu and Jewish children and youth by Muslim gangs and jihad-supremist Muslim groups. Sikhs wish a ban on the activities of groups such as Hiz-But Tahrir and Al Majharoun, and also investigations into active, concentrated gangs who are recognised as being from Muslim-Pakistani backgrounds.

2. Sikhs unhappy with the use of the term “Asian” in the media. This ambiguous and over-simplified term, disguises the different experiences, needs, lifestyles and aspirations of the multiple communities that come from South Asia – Tamil, Sikh, Gujerati, Muslim, Kashmiri, Hindu, etc. We believe “Asian” systematically obscures and undermines issues which are specific and distinct to Sikh, Muslim and other South Asian communities; and, consequently. leads to public confusion and dysfunctional official policy-making (treating all ‘Asians’ as the same).

3. The impact of “kaffirism” based attitudes in the Muslim community on social cohesion. Sikhs feel they are perceived as ‘kaffirs’ by significant sections of the Muslim community; and this term is in widespread usage regards non-Muslims. Sikhs believe the word “kaffir” should be termed as a hate word, and treated as racially and religiously hostile. Sikhs have suffered ‘kaffirism’ under the 17-18th Mughal state, and continue to suffer the same in current Islamic states like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Sikhs believe this attitude is evident amongst sections of the Muslim community in the UK, through a combination of sources (e.g. propaganda by groups like Al-Majharoun; “Undercover Mosque”, 15th January 2008, Dispatches, Channel 4; general Muslim dialogue).

4. Sikhs wish an investigation into the issues surrounding the “mothers for prevention” case in West Yorkshire/Lancashire. We believe this is a serious case-study of insidious “grooming” in the UK. See: [www.timesonline.co.uk]

5. Sikhs wish to have proportionate state funding for Sikh initiatives, no different to the tens of millions being specifically directed at the Muslim community (e.g. ‘community cohesion’, ‘Prevention of Violent Extremism’, ‘Muslim Youth Engagement’). No government funding is being made available to support initiatives and services for the Sikh communities. Why this special treatment for the Muslim community?

6. Sikhs feel that we have been significantly affected by the events of 9/11, with racist attacks, taunting and labels of ‘Bin Laden’ and regular ‘mistaken identity’ of Sikhs as turban-bearded Muslims. The first two persons to be killed post 9/11 were Sikhs (one in New York and one in Moscow). The first buildings in the UK to be attacked were gurdwaras. In fact, Sikhs have been even more visibly vulnerable than the average Muslim, because of the visible Sikh appearance – routinely misconstrued as ‘Muslim’. Sikhs feel pained that, that there has been a conspicuous silence from Muslim groups about the post 9/11 Sikh experience. All focus has been directed on attacks on the Muslim community. We believe all racist attacks should be equally condemned, by communities and the state.

7. Support for Sikh ethnic monitoring. Whilst there has been much recognition for Muslim needs across public services and the state sector, by the UK government, there has been no significant effort undertaken to officially recognise Sikhs as a distinct group and accord appropriate resources for their needs. Sikhs are a legally constituted distinct ‘ethnic’ community. This legal fact continues to be marginalised, and detrimentally affect Sikhs.


These were the core Sikh concerns presented in the dialogue. Both prior and following the Corrymeela, Sikh participant discussions cited various published reports relating to the above concerns. A list of these is given in the APPENDIX on page 18.

Very limited time and space was allowed for dialogue on these core issues. No more than 20% of the whole weekend, in fact.

One God: Waheguru
One Guru : Sahib Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
One Group : Guru Khalsa Panth!

This should be the Motto of Our Generation

 



Re: Sikh-Muslim Dialogue, 4-6th July 2008:
Posted by: Jagjit Singh (IP Logged)
Date: October 02, 2008 07:29AM

To the veer from yorkshire,

There are many Gursikhs here to provide support to you. feel free to pop down Singh sabha gurdwara or Guru nanak Gurdwara at wakefield rd at the weekend.

One God: Waheguru
One Guru : Sahib Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
One Group : Guru Khalsa Panth!

This should be the Motto of Our Generation

 





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