Scottish Sikh Vigil Feedback

RELIGIOUS leaders last night called for calm as hundreds of people gathered for a prayer vigil at the site of a racist attack on an Asian teenager.

Sikhs from across Britain were joined by members of other religious communities at the spot in Edinburgh where the 15-year-old was assaulted.

The teenager was attacked in Pilrig Park last Tuesday by four white youths, who subjected him to a tirade of abuse before kicking and punching him to the ground.

His bandana-style head covering, worn in accordance with his faith, was torn off and his hair, which Sikh men pledge never to cut, was shorn.

Rab Singh, the vice-president of Leith's Sikh temple, said yesterday's vigil was intended to send out a strong message of peace and religious unity.

The gathered throng marched from the Mill Lane temple to Pilrig Park waving banners and chanting in Punjabi "the lord is wonderful, his name is true".

During the two-hour event, candles were lit as a host of religious leaders and organisation representatives offered prayers and sympathy to the teenager's family, and called for interfaith unity and dialogue to counter the violence of the attack.

Mr Singh added: "The community in Leith is a well-integrated one, and hopefully this is a one-off case."

Though some community members claim the victim is still extremely shaken and may need counselling, Mr Singh said the boy was recovering well.

"I've spent time with the boy's family, and he is very shocked," he said. "But he was at the temple this morning and he will be all right." The community has been working closely with police over the incident, he added.

It is understood that police, who last week launched a dedicated text and email appeal for witnesses, as well as working with schools in the area, have identified a number of suspects and are currently gathering evidence.

Chief Inspector Keith Chamberlain said: "This was an exceptionally serious incident and will not be tolerated. We are very confident of getting a positive outcome on this case."

The Rev Professor Frank Whaling, president of the Edinburgh Interfaith Association, said: "We are glad to be giving support to the Sikh community today.

"We want to pass on our thoughts, prayers and sympathies to the boy and his family."

Malcolm Chisholm, communities minister and Leith MSP, and the Edinburgh City Council leader, Ewan Aitken, also attended the event.


SIKHS regard their hair - known as Kes - as one of the five Kakaars, which shield and protect their spirituality. In 1699, religious followers were commanded by Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the ten gurus of Sikhism, to wear their hair long and uncut, as a visible symbol of their faith.

Sikh men tie their hair in a Rishi knot. The turban, or head covering, is worn to keep the hair clean, as cleanliness is considered next to godliness.

Selected comments from newspaper website:

*The Sikh community have shown all of us an example of how. peaceful and united protest can draw attention to the serious problems we have within the various communities.
Well done

*This is a great show of unity and support, but its not just for the Sikh community, its for all of us.

*Many congrats to the Sikh community in pulling of a peaceful demo. Let's hope the cops can repay them by getting the thugs who assaulted the boy.
I'm still not a fan of ANY religion. I despise them all equally ... but you have to tip your hat (or dastaar) to the Sikhs for how cquickly they pulled it together, without and problems.

*Great to see such a well organised demo. All involved should be congratulated. Pity such a show was to demonstrate against some very sick idiots, who sure do not represent the views of the Edinburgh people. I have watched the Sikhs parade in Great Junction Street and find it an inspiring site. Indeed I know a good few Sikhs and am very happy to be able to say they are friends. I wish the young lad all the best and hope he can put this behind him. With the help of his community, I am sure he will back on top soon. All the best to the Edinburgh Sikhs!

*This is about Ned Culture rather than "Racism".

Sikhs and Hindus have been nothing but an asset to this country. Anyone with an issue with their warm, peaceful, friendly culture has to be a moron.

I truly hope this does not tarnish the fantastic rapport and understanding that exists in this country between both "cultures".

To the sikhs out there, please see this for what it is; a terrible isolated incident exacted by our underclass scum. Anyone who deals with Sikhs and Hindus develops strong long lasting friendships. These filth have simply spotted something they do not understand and have lashed out. Let's see these filth banged up for a very long time.

*Thankfully, it all passed off quietly and the Sikh religion showed themselves to be peaceful and well organised when I'm sure many of us feared trouble at Pilrig.

*Good news for all involved that this march and prayer vigil went off peacefully. All credit to the Sikh community, the local people and the police.

It is hoped that other groups will learn from this example.

1 comment:

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