Rise in Extremism or Rise in Hysteria? Canadian Sikhs Setting the Record Straight

It has been a tough month for Canadian Sikhs. The festival of Vaisakhi is supposed to be a time of celebration – when Sikhs have a public opportunity to share their values and explain their faith to their fellow Canadians. Instead, numerous incidents have occurred in recent weeks shifting the focus away from the Sikh principles of equality, compassion, freedom of expression, and religious freedom. Fuelled by misinformation and irresponsible leadership, public hysteria has grown over a supposed increase in extremism in the Sikh community. Here are the myths and realities behind the current controversy.

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WSO Condemns Facebook Threats Against MP Ujjal Dosanjh

Ottawa – (April 23, 2010): The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) condemns threatening comments that have been posted on the social-networking website Facebook against MP Ujjal Dosanjh. Any threats, whether direct or indirect to any individual are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. We live in a society where freedom of expression is guaranteed and all individuals have the right to peacefully express their views. Mr. Dosanjh is an elected politician and despite any differences of opinion with his positions, it is unacceptable that any person would make any threats to him. Such comments go against the principles of the Sikh faith and against our values as Canadians.

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Sikh Canadians Horrified by Violence: World Sikh Organization of Canada

Ottawa – (April 19, 2010): The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) joins the Sikh community in Canada in expressing horror and disappointment over a recent incident at Brampton’s Sri Guru Nanak Sikh Centre, in which several individuals were injured during a fight.

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World Sikh Organization of Canada Offers Services Free Across Canada

Date: April 6, 2010

Time: 12:00pm

We would like to thank all of you for attending this Press Conference today, which is being held by the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

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WSO Saddened by Violence at Sikh Lehar Centre

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 5, 2010) - The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is deeply saddened by the violence that took place in Brampton, Ontario at the Sikh Lehar Centre on Friday evening. In a clash at the Centre, several individuals were injured after a demonstration against controversial preacher Prof. Darshan Singh turned violent.

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Canadian Sikhs Applaud NDP leader for his Convictions

Mr. Jack Layton, leader of the federal NDP has chastised the government of Canada for inviting ‘a divisive and controversial Indian politician, Kamal Nath "...accused of participating in, orchestrating, inciting and leading angry mobs in Delhi in November 1984."

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Fraser Health Authority Apology to Sikh Community Not Enough

Ottawa – March 25, 2010: The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is disturbed to learn that for the second time in the last two years, reports have emerged of a Sikh patient’s beard having been cut at a Fraser Health Authority (FHA) facility. Adherents of the Sikh faith maintain uncut hair as a symbol of the faith, signifying acceptance of God’s will. According to reports, an elderly Sikh patient’s beard was cut by a FHA nurse shortly before his death. Although FHA has apologized for the incident, hollow apologies without corrective measures to ensure such incidents are not repeated, are not enough to satisfy the Sikh community.

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Response of Some Politicians to Sikh Community’s Concerns Disappointing

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(March 23, 2010) - The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is deeply disappointed by the response of some federal and provincial politicians to the concerns of the Sikh community about the visit of Indian cabinet minister Kamal Nath to Canada. Mr. Nath has been implicated in leading a mob that attacked Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, a prominent Sikh shrine, and burnt several Sikhs alive. While the Sikh community welcomes the statement by NDP Leader Jack Layton acknowledging the Sikh community's concerns and urging his caucus to not attend events featuring Mr. Nath, other federal and provincial leaders have shown an unacceptable ignorance of the human rights concerns of the Sikh community.

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WSO Condemns Outrageous Vandalism of Guelph Sikh Society Gurdwara

Ottawa – March 20, 2010: The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) condemns the acts of vandalism at the Guelph Sikh Society Gurdwara. On early Friday morning, vandals threw bricks through the front window of the Gurdwara. This attack follows weeks of controversy surrounding attempts to rezone a piece of land to build a new Gurdwara to accommodate the growing Sikh community in Guelph. The Sikh community in Guelph has recently faced increasingly intolerant and often racist comments opposing the move.

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WSO Calls for Principled Discussion on Religious Accommodation

Ottawa – March 17, 2010: The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) calls for a fair and principled discussion on the issue of religious accommodation. Recent events in Quebec, specifically the case of Naema Ahmed, a niqab-wearing woman who was asked to leave her French Class in Montreal have once again raised the issue of the accommodation of religious attire and specifically the niqab. It is essential that issues involving religious accommodation be considered in light of the Canadian Charter and human rights law, and not based on personal biases and xenophobia.

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