British Sikhs Feel “Islamophobia” on Them Being Overlooked

The NSO has said that the UK government is unwilling to address wider ramifications of Islamophobia on Sikhs or the 'Muslim looking other.'


Raising their doubts over the effectiveness of the UK government’s recently updated strategy against hate crimes, British Sikhs have said that these actions don’t acknowledge the problem of “Islamophobia on Sikhs” and also don’t address the problem of attacks on Sikhs while being mistaken as Muslims, reported PTI.

The Network of Sikh Organizations (NSO), a representative body for more than 130 UK gurdwaras and other Sikh organizations across the UK said in its statement on Oct.21 that the “refresh” of government’s hate crime strategy  has again isolated the Sikh community by not considering the Islamophobia and the attacks against Sikhs or other people looking like Muslims in their appearance.

It said that Sikh groups like the NSO, The Sikh Council, The Sikh Federation UK, and City Sikhs had expressed these concerns even in past when the Action Against Hate (2016) was first published. The NSO expressed its disappointment by saying that the UK government is not willing to take these problems into account.

“The government is unwilling to address the wider ramifications of Islamophobia on Sikhs, or the ‘Muslim looking other,'” the NSO said in its statement. “A simple acknowledgment that Sikhs face Islamophobia would have allayed concerns. Like us, many will be right to ask the government why ministerial ’round tables’ are the preserve of Jews and Muslims,” it added.

The NSO’s reaction comes right after the recently concluded National Hate Crime Awareness Week in Britain, where it was announced that it will be reviewed if additional offenses like misogyny and ageism should be counted as hate crimes, the news agency said.

The NSO also said that it had data (through Freedom of Information right) which showed that “the significant numbers of non-Muslims and those of no recorded faith are being recorded as victims of ‘Islamophobic hate crime’ by the MET police.”

NSO also cited its Director Lord Indarjit Singh’s speech, that he gave in a parliamentary debate on the motion ‘This House takes note of the challenges posed by religious intolerance and prejudice in the United Kingdom’ few days back.  He underlined that Sikhs have been targeted under Islamophobic crimes.

“Many of the hate crimes described as Islamophobic are directed against Sikhs out of ignorance or mistaken identity. In the States, a Sikh was the first person murdered in reprisal after 9/11, and six worshippers in a gurdwara there were shot by a white supremacist in another mistaken-identity killing,” he had said in his speech.

In the debate, he said that attacks against Sikhs are not being considered while making anti-hate policies.

“I do not in any way begrudge the protection that Jews and Muslims receive against hate crime… All I ask is that the Government are a little more even-handed to non-Abrahamic faiths in both policies and resourcing,” he said.

The PTI quoted UK Faith Minister Lord Nick Bourne as saying, “This government abhors all forms of hate crime, including that directed at Sikhs. The refreshed Hate Crime Action Plan to tackle race and religious crime applies equally to Sikhs as it does other religions and races.”

“Our Anti-Muslim Hatred working group will be addressing the issue of Sikhs being mistaken for Muslims and being subjected to hate crimes. We are absolutely clear that no one, of any race or religion, should be subjected to hate crime,” he said.

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