EDL’s Sikh spokesman faces excommunication

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Guramit Singh told: ‘Choose EDL or Sikhism’

THE English Defence League’s Sikh spokesman is facing expulsion from his faith.

Sikh groups in Britain have threatened Guramit Singh with excommunication by appealing to the highest religious authority in their holy city of Amritsar if he fails to denounce the nationalist organisation and cease his inflammatory remarks.

In a recent BBC documentary, Who’s afraid of the EDL?, Mr Singh, from Nottingham, said that Sikhs have been trying to ‘protect’ the world from Islam for hundreds of years. He was also heard quoting the founder of the religion, Guru Nanak, as part of an offensive speech condemning Muslims communities.

A number of the most prominent British Sikh organisations say that Mr Singh’s Islamophobic comments threaten to bring the religion into disrepute. Known collectively as ‘Sikhs against the EDL’, the campaign group formed for the EDL’s controversial Luton rally in February 2011 has called for Mr. Singh to publicly denounce the rightwing group by the end of the Vaisakhi festival on 13th April. Failure to do so will result in a direct appeal to the leader of the Akal Takht, the highest seat of the religion worldwide.

The threat follows a joint statement from a number of prominent British Sikhs urging members of their faith to condemn the League. Signatories from the wider community, including Labour MPs Virendra Sharma and Valerie Vaz, and Labour MEP Claude Moraes, criticised the EDL’s tactics of ‘divide and rule’ and the ‘spread of mistrust’ within their communities.

Speaking about the ultimatum, one of the organisers of the Sikhs Against the EDL campaign Varinder Singh said: “The Sikh Community has clearly condemned Guramit Singh’s public actions which are being used as a political stunt by the EDL.

“His views do not reflect the Sikh faith or the community and must be stopped to prevent further damage to inter-faith relations.”

Originator of the joint statement condemning Sikh involvement in the EDL, Balwinder Singh Rana, said: “Some of the largest Sikh and Hindu organisations in this country have signed our statement, and we have the support of MPs, MEPs, councillors and religious leaders across Britain.

“People of all faiths are disgusted by the antics of the EDL, who try to isolate and scapegoat the Muslim community.”

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