February 4, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London: On 2nd February, Harinder Singh (Former CEO, Sikh Research Institute) and Jagmeet Singh MPP (Deputy Leader, New Democratic Party, Canada) begin their 2016 UK Tour, said a written press release sent by Gurpreet Kaur – UK liaison, #FreeAkalTakht.
“This visit — the first time they have both appeared together in the UK — marks the beginning of an international tour for the Free Akal Takht campaign to initiate and facilitate dialogue on the future of the 30-million strong Sikh community worldwide. It follows a series of events in India over the last few months that have stirred visceral debate among Sikhs globally. Their tour will include the US, Canada, France, Australia and Singapore”, reads the press release.
Speaking about the visit, Jagmeet Singh MPP said ‘After recently hearing about the Free Akal Takht campaign, I am delighted to engage in the conversation during my trip to the UK. The Sikh community has a rich history in England and I can’t think of a better place in the diaspora to begin exploring what’s next for our community. Through collaboration with various stakeholders, the campaign has fantastic forward thinking ideas on how to engage the over 30 million Sikhs worldwide”
The Sikh population – the fifth largest faith group globally – is concentrated in the original Sikh homeland of Panjab (North India). However in the last 150 years – and particularly in the last 30 years – a very strong global diaspora has emerged, including in the UK. Yet the community is challenged to have a self-governance model globally.
“The community is facing an existential threat,” comments Harinder Singh, activist and educator. “And we don’t know the answers, but we know the community as a whole if it comes together, will. Now, more than ever, we have the tools and ability to connect, engage, bring everyone into conversation and develop a point of view for the Sikh community about where we go next on the basis of that collective understanding. I am immensely excited come to the UK and talk about how we do this. We have a window of opportunity and we should use it.”
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