Sikh extremists threaten life of Canadian MP


From the Vancouver Sun. The extremist Sikhs who have gone online to threaten the life of Vancouver South MP Ujjal Dosanjh are doing their fellow Sikhs an incredible disservice. A recent poll suggests as much.

The bullying militants are tarnishing all Sikhs with the same violent brush, even though Canada's roughly 350,000 Sikhs come in a wide range of beliefs, attitudes and practices.

Some, like Dosanjh, are fully secular. Others practise the religion quietly and just occasionally. Some are devout turban-wearing orthodox faithful. And a few are hardline militant fundamentalists who get a thrill out of intimidating moderates.

The Sikhs who went onto Facebook to call for the shooting of Dosanjh, a federal Liberal who does not support the creation of a separate Sikh homeland in India called Khalistan, are probably from the militant fundamentalist camp, which has consistently made things rough for Sikhs like Dosanjh.

Whatever the seriousness of the threat against him, Dosanjh made it clear in a recent interview that a person with a Sikh background doesn't have to be a religious fundamentalist to be worthy of respect by other Sikhs.

"I have a very secular approach to life and that's my right. I'm a Canadian by citizenship, I'm an Indian by heritage and I'm a Punjabi by mother tongue. I'm proud of all of that.'

The former lawyer and one-time New Democratic Party B.C. premier added: "I don't stand for dividing people on religion."

This is an important thing to remember about Sikhism. It's a little bit like Judaism, in that it's a loose combination of both a religion and a culture.

Many consider themselves or others Sikh even if they don't really practise the religion, show up at gurdwaras mostly for weddings, follow Sikhism and other spiritual paths at the same time or are atheists.

Read the full story at the Vancouver Sun.

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