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Colin Bloom’s Faith Review: Is the Sikh Community Tired of Pro-Khalistani Agenda?

Colin Bloom’s Faith Review: Is the Sikh Community Tired of Pro-Khalistani Agenda?

Colin Bloom’s Faith Review: Is the Sikh Community Tired of Pro-Khalistani Agenda?

Colin Bloom, an independent faith engagement advisor, was appointed by former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2019. The purpose of the report was to advise the UK government on how to engage with faith-based groups in the country. Other reasons for the review included an effort to break down barriers between faith groups and promote acceptance and rule of law. The government also wanted to tackle harmful elements and religious practices. Last month, the review was made public. The 165-page report gave 22 recommendations to the government and collected evidence from over 21000 respondents. As expected, it talks about various faiths and issues ailing communities but the report devotes entire 10 pages to Sikh extremism and pro-Khalistan extremism.

What Does The Report Say About Khalistan-Related Extremism?

As per the Colin's review: 1) The first area of concern is the power struggle within some areas of British Sikh communities over who will represent them at official levels and be recognized as the eminent Sikh body in the UK.

2) The second concern is the division between some British Sikh communities which is caused by an extremist fringe ideology within the pro-Khalistan movement. It is important to note that the promotion of Khalistan ideals is not itself subversive, but the aggressive actions of some pro-Khalistan activists and the subsequent negative effect on wider Sikh communities .

3) The third area of concern is the activities of some individuals and organizations that are demonstrably fueling sectarianism and anti-Muslim sentiments, as well as legitimizing discriminatory and misogynistic behavior.

What Does It Say About Sikh Diaspora?

The review makes it clear it is a referring to a very small number of people within Sikh community. It says that “small, extremely vocal and aggressive minority of British Sikhs who can be described as pro-Khalistan extremists” and that they are promoting “ethno-nationalist agenda”. It recognises that some extremists are “known to support and incite violence and intimidation in their ambition to establish an independent state called Khalistan”.

Is the Diaspora Tired of these sentiments?

There have been some negative comments regarding the use of the word “extremism” in this context, but overall, the reaction has been muted. As the report itself recognizes, Sikh communities in the diaspora have often sought to integrate and contribute to their host societies. Many Sikhs have established successful businesses, professions, and community organizations, and they may prioritize their identity as citizens or residents of their adopted countries over ethno-nationalist aspirations. The review mentioned highlights that the activities of pro-Khalistani extremists have had negative effects on wider Sikh communities. This could include damaging community cohesion, fostering division, and promoting sectarianism. Many Sikh individuals and organizations may reject these elements to avoid associating with such divisive actions and to maintain positive relationships with other communities.

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