Sikh Council UK is disappointed by references in an article published by The Telegraph on 2nd September 2015 to ‘religious militants’, ‘Sikh militants’ and ‘fundamentalists’ when referring to Sikhs.
The article is in relation to protests that have occurred at Gurdwaras recently to protest against the Anand Karaj taking place of people who are not Sikh against the requirements of the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Code of Sikh Conduct and Conventions).
In a democratic society it is permissible for individuals to protest in order to express their views. Sikh Council UK believes protests should be an absolute last resort with dialogue being favoured and where protests do take place they should be peaceful, non-violent, non-aggressive, disciplined and respectful to all others.
Sikh Council UK is concerned that the references to ‘religious militants’, ‘Sikh militants’ and ‘fundamentalists’ serves to reinforce prejudice against Sikhs and could lead to further hate attacks against observant Sikhs and their places of worships, homes and businesses who due to their visual identity have often been mistakenly identified and attacked following Islamist terrorist attacks.
After Sikh Council UK’s Mankamal Singh filed a complaint a representative of the legal department of The Telegraph responded:
After outrage expressed on social media and hundreds of complaints, the newspaper was forced to change the headline: