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Sikhs in Europe disuss religious identity issues


sikhs identity in europe

Sikh representatives from across Europe recently met at the European Parliament to discuss actions aimed at safeguarding the Sikh identity in Europe.

AMRITSAR: Sikh representatives from across Europe recently met at the European Parliament to discuss actions aimed at safeguarding the Sikh identity in Europe. Besides, they also discussed about the Kirpan issue in Italy.

Gurjeet Singh of Sikh Federation, UK, told TOI that with UK setting negotiations to exit the European Union in motion, an urgent meeting of Sikh representatives from across Europe was convened to start developing a strategy in relation to defending the Sikh identity.

"We will hold similar conferences across Europe at least every 6 months for the next two years," he said.

Gurjeet Singh informed that to aid discussions and develop a strategy, countries across Europe were divided into four categories: countries with well-established Sikh communities where Sikh identity issues were reasonably well understood; countries with secular policies where Sikhs had been experiencing significant difficulties; countries with Sikh communities that were growing and had been establishing themselves in more recent times; and countries with governments that had right-wing policies and practices where Sikhs need to remain vigilant.

He informed that using the above groupings, the challenges faced with regards to the Sikh identity were explained by representatives from each country. "It was clear that the challenges faced by Sikhs in each country were different and required a variety of interventions," he said.

Sikhs from Italy, representing the National Dharam Parchar Committee, gave a historic perspective on the Kirpan issue and the recent controversial developments. "They provided useful evidence on the lack of iron content of the Kirpan that has been proposed, compared to existing Kirpans that made it absolutely clear that Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh should never have even entertained the current proposal" he said.

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