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.

This incident is not linked to the incident which took place on April 2, 2010 at the Sikh Lehar Centre in Brampton.

This kind of violence cannot and should not be tolerated, and the WSO strongly condemns it.. The Sikh faith teaches tolerance and love. Incidents like these do not represent the Sikh community or Sikh values. It is even more unfortunate that this has taken place this month as Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi, one of the most important Sikh festivals. At a time when Sikhs are looking to share their tolerant and inclusive religious values with fellow Canadians and celebrate their over 100 year history in Canada, this kind of irresponsible and unacceptable behavior by a few individuals continues to cast a shadow over the entire community.

WSO president Prem Singh Vinning said, “These incidents aren’t representative of the Sikh community and are against the principles of the Sikh faith. Violence to resolve disputes is not the Sikh way and it’s not the Canadian way. The Sikh community must step forward and ensure that those responsible are held accountable and not allowed to malign the image of the community any further.”

WSO’s senior policy advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “It’s tragic that the Sikh community becomes hostage to the irresponsible actions of a few individuals. They aren’t representative of the Sikh community at large. We are all shocked by what has happened and we need to make sure that the average Canadian Sikh who is repulsed by incidents like this is brought to the forefront. It’s a shame that an event such as this eclipses all the good work the Sikh community has been doing across Canada, work such as raising hundreds of thousands for the relief work in Haiti or contributions by the community to local hospitals in Surrey and Brampton. The Sikh community is not violent and the image created by these incidents is not fair.”

The onus is now on Canadian Sikhs to ensure that those individuals who act irresponsibly are sidelined and not allowed to malign the Sikh image any further.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

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