Monday, June 18, 2007

So Did the Muslim Boy Really Convert to Sikhism or Is It Just a Sham?

From Birmingham, there comes this news that a Gurdwara committee is under fire for marrying a non-Sikh to a Sikh girl. If the committee is going to do this, isn't it incumbent upon them to ensure that the 'conversion' is heartfelt and not just a matter of expediency?

Shouldn't they have outlined a program of education for the boy to ensure that he understood Sikh values, prayers and beliefs over a period of study?

Shouldn't they have done the same for the girl to ensure that she herself would know Sikh principles, prayers, beliefs and values?

The Gurdwara committee should have done at least that much as well as educate the girl's parents on the same. This would have ensured that if it was later learned that the boy's 'conversion' was only for show, that the girl would truly know what Sikhism is and what he or his family may force her to leave, if it came to that. Regardless, I think, without having spoken to the committee and only going by what I've read (which may not count for anything really), the Gurdwara committee didn't have a rationalized approach for doing what they did and had no plan of action, course or any other guide on which they based their decision to marry the couple.
The head of a Birmingham Sikh temple and his family had to flee their home after it was targeted by arsonists in what is believed to have been been a reprisal attack for allowing a mixed marriage.

Three cars were set ablaze outside the Handsworth Wood home of Jarnail Singh Bhogal, president of the Ramgharia Sikh Gurdwara in Graham Street, Hockley. The attack in the early hours of yesterday comes in the wake of protests against the marriage, the details of which were posted on an online Sikh forum naming the temple leaders.

The website referred to a marriage between a Sikh woman and a man of another religion and called on Sikhs to protest outside the Gurdwara yesterday against "this disgraceful act".

It also demanded the resignation of Mr Bhogal and warns Gurdwara leaders there will be consequences if they allow mixed marriages.

According to the Gurdwara temple, however, the man involved in the marriage converted to Sikhism before the ceremony. Cars parked in the driveway of Mr Bhogal's house on Vernon Avenue were fire-bombed at about 3.30am yesterday.

Mr Bhogal said: "I woke up and there was a big bang and an orange light or flash. I opened the curtains and saw my three cars on fire so I asked the kids and my wife to get out and go in the garden and called the fire brigade."

Insp Lee Bartram of Thornhill Road police station said: "An incident occurred where three vehicles were damaged. The reason behind that we can't confirm. We appeal to witnesses to contact police on 0845 1135000."

A spokesman for the Ramgarhia Sikh Temple said: "The girl was a Sikh and the boy voluntarily changed his name to a Sikh name and promised to adopt the values of Sikhism.

"Committee members were incorrectly targeted based on vicious rumours which led to the horrific incident where three cars were burnt."

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Anonymous said...

The proof has been seen by the Sikh leaders and it did occur, it's time we started supporting each other rather than ask questions. If a person who does not have identity willingly takes Sikhism as their way of life we should accept this. Let us move on

Kaptaan said...

My point is really, that taking a Sikh name and assuring the Gurdwara committee that you want to be a Sikh, probably isn't where they should have left it off. In fact, they should have agreed to help the boy be a Sikh by engaging the boy, the girl, and the girl's family in a program of education to ensure that they all understood what Sikhism is about. As I mentioned, Sikh history, principles, beliefs, and prayers should have been taught over a period of time and not just perfunctorily. To simply have a superficial 'conversion' does not really do the Panth justice.

I believe after engaging the couple in such a manner that then one could say that the committee did some due diligence and fulfilled its obligation to the Sangat.

amrit said...

This is not the first time the racists have used Sikh matters to demonise Muslims. It follows their infamous ‘Islam: A Threat To Us All’ tape that they released in 2001 claiming support among Sikhs and Hindus. In 2004 they used an elderly Sikh in their election broadcast who claimed he supported the group.

Other links,,624352,00.html

Kaptaan said...

I wouldn't characterize Sikhs as being racist. That is painting everyone with the same brush.

Sikhs and Gurdwaras have the RIGHT and OBLIGATION to ensure that marriages in Gurdwaras are conducted between Sikhs.

If you are not a Sikh, don't marry in a Gurdwara, plain and simple. Have your wedding somewhere else. You can't force people of any religion to solemnize any marriage that contradicts the faith.