– Bomb Attack on Gurdwara: Three Teenagers Sentenced in Germany

Sikh24 Editors

Essen-Germany (BRD), 22 March 2017. A German Court of Essen has sentenced three German born minors for upto seven years at a juvenile detention center for carrying out a bomb blast in the Gurdwara Sahib of Essen.

The bomb blast carried out by these minors on 16 April 2016 had left the Granthi (Priest)* injured with serious burns, along with two others suffering injuries from shards of glass.

The court charged two of the group with attempted murder, while the third minor was held guilty of being a part of a criminal conspiracy as he was not present in carrying out the bomb blast. The judge ruled that the teens should serve sentences of seven years, six years & nine months, with six years in a juvenile detention center.

The culprits Yusuf, Mohammad and Tolga (last names omitted) were aged 16 years when they had detonated a homemade explosive device outside the temple [Gurdwara]. The bomb which was crafted from a fire extinguisher packed with explosive chemicals had destroyed the entrance to the temple.

The prosecutors said that the three offenders carried out the bomb attack because they mistook Sikhs as ‘non-believers of God’. They also targeted the Gurdwara Sahib over an alleged mistreatment of Muslims by Sikhs in northern India. The prosecutors further said that the teens were radicalised via social media in 2015.

Situated in western part of North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany, the Essen town has around 200 Sikhs living in it.

*A granthi is not a priest, he is more like a protestant minister.

Hoepertingen Gurdwara

Mariagaarde – Hoepertingen
10 February 2017

The Mariagaarde court yard

Hoepertingen Gurdwara
Guru Ram Dass Sikh Study & Cultural Centre
10 February 2017

Pupils from the Linden school

In the new langar hall

Smiling for the picture

Meester Jan

The sevadar

Guru Ram Dass Sikh Study & Cultural Centre
Smisstraat 8
B-3840 Borgloon

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh Federation UK – British Sikhs sickened by indiscriminate killing of pedestrians and terror attack on UK Parliament

London, 22 March 2017. A terrorist killed three members of the public and wounded at least 40 other civilians as his Hyundai 4×4 vehicle careered into pedestrians in the heart of the capital outside Parliament.

The man armed with a knife then entered the Parliamentary estate and stabbed to death Keith Palmer, a 48 year old police officer before the attacker was shot dead.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Keith Palmer who died protecting Parliamentarians and the innocent victims who died or have been seriously injured and their families. The indiscriminate terrorist attack on civilians in Westminster is sickening and deplorable.”

“The location of this callous terrorist attack in Westminster was no accident and in our view a horrific attack on the values Parliament represents of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. We join other peace loving people to condemn this attack and must all be united against violence and terrorism.”

“We are saddened by the rise of such incidents around the world and have urged Sikhs to be calm and extra vigilant. It can not be a coincidence the attack was carried out on the first anniversary of the terror attacks in Brussels. Everyone needs to be much more security conscious.”

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Posted to Sikh News Discussion Yahoo Group – Sikhs Extra Vigilant in London After Terror Attack

Sikh24 Editors

London-UK, 23 March 2017. After the terror attack outside the House of Westminster, in London, Sikhs throughout the area are stepping up their vigilance as the alarm of the attack reaches evening commuters.

The attack today transpired after a terrorist driving his vehicle into members of the public. He subsequently stabbed a policeman on guard duty, before being shot dead by armed police. Four deaths have resulted.

Sikhs have borne the brunt of knee-jerk reprisals in the past as hate crimes usually and as such Gurdwara Sahibs often been a target, so local Sikh communities are on alert to be safe from any such unfounded responses.

The Met Police have cordoned off many areas of central London and asked members of the public to volunteer any images or footage that they may have captured on personal devices.

“I would like to ask the public to remain vigilant and let us know if they see anything suspicious that causes them concern and dial 999 immediately”, said Commander B J Harrington, of New Scotland Yard.

BBC Radio 4 – Thought for the day 21-3-17

Lord Indarjit Singh

Last week’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that employers have a right to set dress codes (that can exclude religious symbols and dress), came as a shock to turban wearing Sikhs, Muslim women who wear a headscarf, and many Christians and Jews.

Despite assurances from the government, legal experts and the European Court of Human Rights stating that faith communities in the UK would continue to be free to both practice and manifest their religious belief, postings on internet discussion groups, suggest some people still feel the ruling might be used to their disadvantage.

Some European politicians, playing to growing populism, welcomed the ruling. For me it was all déjà vu. In the early 80s, I spent a day and a half in court as an expert witness for the then Commission for Racial Equality, in a case against a school that said its uniform rules did not allow a Sikh boy the right to wear a turban in school.

The case, that went all the way to the House of Lords, finally established the right of Sikhs to wear the symbols of their faith. During my cross-examination, I was asked: Would you be equally offended if you were told you could not enter a church or a school? I replied: ‘No, because for a Sikh it is not necessary to go to a church. But it is necessary to be educated.

A Sikh child would be placed at a severe disadvantage, especially when, to add to the hurt, he is told, “we are doing this in the interest of racial harmony”. I honestly thought that we had now finally moved on from earlier insensitivity, to ‘those not like us’, but populism, which can open the door to racism, seems to be gaining ground in much of the world, with its unstated message that those ‘not like us’, are responsible for all our problems.

Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the Sikh Gurus, directly challenged such prejudiced thinking. He taught:

Though some see only difference,

We are all of one race in all the world.

We all have the same form, compounded of the same elements

The one Lord made us all.

I believe the Gurus words are a timely warning against the growing allure of populism, now all too evident in much of the world.

Posted to Sikh News Discussion by:
Hardeep Singh <> – American state to mark April as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’

Sikh24 Editors

Dover-Delaware-USA, 20 March 2017. Amidst rising hate crime incidents against Sikhs in the USA, the state assembly of Delaware, a state south of New Jersey, has resolved to mark the month of April as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’.

A resolution regarding this was unanimously passed by the Senate as well as Representative House of Delaware state assembly.

“Delaware stands with the Sikh community in denouncing hate crimes directed towards any individual on account of their religious beliefs”, reads the resolution announced by senator Brown Townsend in the state assembly.

“Since September 11, 2001, the Sikhs are often mistaken for Taliban or followers of Al Qaida, owing to the commonality of their beards and turbans, and subjected to a disproportionately high rate of hate crimes, and Sikh boys suffer bullying at least twice the national bullying rate for other boys”, it said.

The move was welcomed by the State Governor, John Carney, who in a meeting with the Sikh community assured all kind of help to the community, which he said of late has been experiencing a spate of hate crimes in the US. He further said that such kind of racial attacks were totally unacceptable.

“We have fear mongering going on at a national level, and stereotyping and all of that. It is an embarrassment for America as a country,” Carney told a delegation of Indian-Americans led by local businessman and community leader Charanjeet Singh Minhas.

Meanwhile, Charanjit Singh has welcomed the Delaware’s move in taking a lead in displaying it’s solidarity with the Sikh community, despite having only a small Sikh population, compared to the other states like California, New York and New Jersey.

DNA India – Sikh body demands fresh probe into the Chattisinghpora massacre

Srinagar, 20 March 2017. A Sikh body here today demanded a fresh probe into the Chattisinghpora massacre which claimed the lives of 35 Sikhs on this day in 2000.

“After 17 years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Sikhs of the Valley, are still waiting for the justice. We urge the state and central governments to nab the culprits of the massacre,” Chairman, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, Jagmohan Singh Raina said in a statement issued here.

He said it was “unfortunate” that the government is maintaining “silence” on the issue.

“We urge the state and central governments to go for fresh a probe into the incident. If they fail to do so, then we will consider it as a huge injustice with the Sikhs of Kashmir,” Raina said.

“We will not rest till the real culprits of the massacre are brought to justice,” he vowed.

After the massacre on 20 March 2000 in Chattisinghpora village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, the security forces claimed to have killed five “militants” responsible for the murder of the Sikhs at a nearby village.

However, a CBI inquiry, ordered by the state government after massive protests, revealed that the deceased were civilians who were abducted and killed in a fake encounter.

A N I – Pakistan’s Sikh community upset for being ‘left out’ of national census

Islamabad-Pakistan, 19 March 2017. Expressing disappointment at being ‘left out’ of the national census, the Sikh community in Peshawar has said that they fear their community would not be adequately represented in Pakistan’s first national headcount in 19 years.

“The concerned department has not included the Sikh minority in the ongoing count. It is not only unfortunate for us, it is also a point of great concern for the community to have been missed out in the counting exercise,” the Dawn quoted Radesh Sing Tony, chairman of a Sikh committee, as saying to a news channel.

He complained the community was not counted among the religions included in the census form despite a sizeable number of Sikhs living in Pakistan.

Asserting that Sikhs would be counted under the ‘other’ religion category in the form, Tony said this would not provide an accurate picture of the Sikh population and was an injustice being done to them as they were being deprived of their rights.

Tony said he had written to the chief justice of Pakistan and the chief justices of the Peshawar and Sindh High Courts requesting that the community be counted as an official religion.

Admitting it was a mistake on the part of the census authorities, a spokesperson for the census exercise, Habibullah Khan said, “Yes, a sizable population of Sikhs is living in Pakistan, but have we missed them in the census”.

Most of the Sikhs in Pakistan live in the province of Punjab, a part of the larger Punjab region where the religion originated in the Middle Ages, and Peshawar in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, is located in the Punjab province. (ANI)

The Independent – ‘Neo-Nazis’ plan White Pride march on same day as Sikh religious festival

Far-right extremists will gather in Edinburgh to ‘secure the existence of our people and the future for white children’

Niamh McIntyre

A group of ‘neo-Nazi’ extremists will march through Edinburgh next week to mark “Global White Pride Day”.

The march is planned for the same day as a Sikh religious festival in Edinburgh, which will see hundreds take to the streets in a Nagar Kirtan procession, a traditional display of martial arts, hymns and music.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) claim the National Front has organised the demonstration, in collaboration with other far-right groups.

The event appears to be organised by the same far-right groups behind a ‘White Pride Day’ celebration in Swansea, held on the same day in March last year.

The organisers of the 2016 event described it as an opportunity to “stand proud of our race and white heritage while pledging that we must secure the existence of our people and the future for white children.”

UAF have organised a counter-demonstration to oppose the White Pride March.

A member of UAF said: “Emboldened by Nazi Le Pen’s polling in France and by the influence of white nationalists in Donald Trump’s team these fascists feel confident they can come to the streets of our multicultural city.

“Edinburgh has a fine tradition of stopping racists and Nazis. Should the National Front decide to step foot in Edinburgh, we call upon all anti-racists and anti-fascists to take part in the broadest united mobilisation.

“We won’t stand for their racism, their Islamophobia, their scapegoating of migrants and refugees. We will push them back like we did with the SDL, the EDL and the BNP.”

The march has been called just days after neo-Nazi propaganda was discovered at several bus stops in nearby Dunfermline.

The material encouraged local people to “reject multiculturalism”, while some posters bore the slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

The posters were soon removed and police are investigating.

A spokesperson for campaign group Scotland Against Trump said: “We know that the majority of folk in Scotland oppose the extreme racism practised by so-called White Pride marchers and by far-right politicians in the UK government.

When these gangs promote mass violence against whole groups of people, we believe they have no right to public space and will use our overwhelming numbers of protesters to prevent them from marching.”

A council spokeswoman confirmed no permission as yet had been sought for any ‘White Pride’ march in Edinburgh, but Police Scotland said they were aware of “several demonstrations” planned for the city centre on March 25.

A spokeswoman told The Edinburgh News: “We are working with our partners, including The City of Edinburgh Council, to put in place a proportionate policing operation to facilitate peaceful protest and minimise disruption to the public.”

The Nation – Indian community must rally to save Sikh school

Bangkok, 18 March 2017. There are reports that the non-profit Thai Sikh International School (TSIS) in Bangkok will be sold to a Christian missionary school.

If those rumours are accurate, then the news should cause real dismay to anyone who values good education. The school has produced many outstanding students, many of them going on to become engineers, doctors, businessman and contributing to Thailand in multiple ways.

Scores of them have won scholarships for universities both in Thailand and abroad before returning to boost this country with their skills.

Profit has never been the motive of the school, unlike many other international schools in Thailand, which can charge a whopping Bt700,000 for admission into kindergarten. Rather, the focus at TSIS is solely on educating the Thai Sikh community, and by extension Thais and Indians, at a subsidised rate.

Parents of the students are now concerned at signs of a decline in the school. Many of them blame a sudden change in staffing policies after a Singaporean adviser was brought in by the school, with chopping and changing of teachers, who are also being pressured to work at weekends.

The high teacher turnover has prompted parents to take their children out of school.

A second problem stems from young Sikhs’ growing reluctance to wear articles of their faith, uncut hair, comb, bracelet, dagger, etc.

Some are reluctant for fear of being stigmatised (Sikhs have been confused for fundamentalist Arabs), others because they follow the trends of their Thai peers. The school, in its wisdom, has stopped admitting those Sikh children who have cut their hair.

It is now imperative that the Sikh community to introspect and come up with a solution to keep the school alive, rather than selling to organisations whose main motivation is profit. The Thai-Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Indian community and the Embassy of India have a big role to play.

The Sikhs once defended India with their lives. It is now time for the whole Indian community to rise to the occasion, reach out of the Sikhs and help them when they need it most.