Sikh-Muslim interfaith event cancelled after 'campaign of harassment' from Sikh activists
By Barfi Culture Team
25th April 2019

The British anti-fascist charity Hope Not Hate , which recently played a key role in foiling a far-right murder plot, was forced to cancel a Sikh-Muslim interfaith event in Birmingham, after facing what it called a campaign of harassment.

Hope not Hate released a statement last night saying it had been supporting Muslim and Sikh communities in Birmingham to create new ways of working together.

This work included a planned inter-community event last night, "which would have seen an explanation about Vaisakhi and its importance to Sikhs with an opportunity for members of all communities to share vegetarian food and spend time together on a social level."

As the event was being held to coincide with Vaisakhi, and was being held at a Mosque, it was called 'Vaisakhi at the Mosque'.

But the event was cancelled yesterday.

Hope Not Hate released this statement:

"[Tuesday] night an incident involving 20-30 Sikh individuals gathering to intimidate one of the Sikh organisers of the event, and his family, at their home. We understood that they were planning further protest and disruption at the event itself, and so for the safety of participants, we have decided to cancel the event."

Gurinder Singh Josan, a Trustee of Hope not Hate who was the target of protests, said “We are saddened and frustrated by the actions of a small minority within the community."

"However, I am confident the Sikh community understands the danger of intolerant narratives and would resist the danger of extremism within their own community. This pathway has nothing to offer for those choosing a mainstream way of life as committed British Sikhs."

A Sikh connected to the event sent us this statement:

"I was horrified to learn that 30+ people had turned up outside Gurinder’s house [Tuesday] night. I became fearful of my own safety. Threats were made that if the event was not called off 200+ protestors would turn up at the mosque. At no point was I contacted by anyone to ask for clarification around what was happening at the event, yet I was labeled a trailer, anti Sikh, an accomplice to sexual abuse of Sikh women etc."

"The event was a set of talks on interfaith cohesion, what Vaisakhi is to Sikhs, and poetry followed by a vegetarian meal that was prepared by a vegetarian catering company. Lies and abuse began being circulated on social media, some going as far as saying that a Sikh baptism ceremony was being carried out at the mosque!"

"I cannot understand the objections as interfaith dialogue and events are something the Sikh community has taken part in for decades. I worry that this kind of thuggish behavior, if allowed to go unchecked will cause lasting damage to core principles of our faith."

Its not clear if Sikh Youth UK were involved in the protests, but they posted this statement last night:

"The anti panthic event Vaisakhi in the Mosque has been cancelled, well done to all those who came together to address this in a constructive way, may the Panth continue to flourish and take a stand against such anti panthic events."

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