A number of the largest Sikh and Hindu organisations in Britain have formally released a joint statement forcefully condemning the EDL and any Sikhs who join them.
The full text of the joint statement by the British Sikh and Hindu organisations condemning the EDL is below; the signatories so far also include the largest Sikh temple outside India, along with a number of other prominent Sikh and Hindu temples, numerous Sikh councillors, and a Member of Parliament:
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, anti-semitism and racism. The English Defence League (EDL) has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples).
Alongside this the British National Party (BNP) has received unprecedented electoral support for a fascist organisation in Britain.
They are using the old tactics of ‘divide and rule’ and are trying to divide the Asians by isolating the Muslim community. Furthermore, some misguided Sikh youth are letting themselves to be used by the EDL while a Sikh man has disgracefully joined the BNP. These people are helping to spread mistrust within our communities and we whole heartedly condemn their actions.
At a time of economic crisis with mass unemployment and impending deep public spending cuts – if the racists are allowed to make any further gains then we all would suffer from grave consequences. Thus we urge all Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews and people of other faiths to come together to strongly condemn the actions of these racist organisations and unite to turn back this tide of hatred.
• Sunny Singh, President, Sikh Society, Hertfordshire University
• Gurdev Kaur, President, Sikh Society, Imperial College, London
• Gulzar Singh Hanspal, Vice President, LSE Sikh-Punjab Society, London School of Economics
• B. S. Virk, President, Sikh Society,University College London (UCL)
• Jasdeep Singh, President, Sikh Society, Westminster University
• Surinder Singh Purewal, Gen. Sec., Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall
• Balvindar Singh, Vice President, British Sikh Council, U.K.
• Harmander Singh, Principal Advisor, Sikhs In England (SIE)
• Teja Singh, Gen. Sec., Sikh Missionary Society (U.K.)
• Jaspal Singh Bhamra, Gen. Sec., Ramgarhia Sabha, Southall
• Varinder Singh, Spokesperson, Turban Campaign
• Harsev Singh Bains, National Gen. Sec., Indian Workers Association (G.B.)
• Umesh Sharma, Chairman, Hindu Temple Trust, Southall
• Pyara Lal Sohi, President, Siri Guru Valmik Sabha, Southall
• Sarswati Sharma, Cultural Sec., Vishwa Hindu Mandir, Southall
• Balwindar Singh Rana, Spokesperson, Unite Against Fascism
• Virendra Sharma, M.P.
• R. Sansarpuri, Councillor, Hillingdon
• Darshan Singh Gurm, General Secretary, Singh Sabha London East Barking & Seven Kings.
• R. Singh, Spokesperson, Mata Sahib Kaur Sikh Academy, Newbury Park, Ilford.
• Gurcharan Singh, Councillor, Ealing Southall
• Gurjeev Nandra, President, Kings College London Sikh Society.
• Councillor Lakhbir Singh (Former Mayor of Luton), Labour Party, Luton
• Councillor Gurdial Bhamra, London Borough of Redbridge
• Councillor Balvir Sond, Hounslow West Ward
• Councillor Bally Singh, Coventry City Council
• Councillor Harjinder (Joe) Singh Naitta, Blagreaves Ward – Derby
Amongst the signatories is Councillor Lakhbir Singh, Former Mayor of Luton, who himself had suffered a vicious racist attack last year after protests in Luton. The EDL have held more than thirty marches and demonstrations up and down the country, often ending in violence. They are to return to Luton on Saturday, 5th February , which they regard as their hometown.
Varinder Singh, spokesperson for the grass roots movement The Turban Campaign, said: "The EDL pretend that they are not racist but they are no different than the old NF and the BNP. Now is the time for Sikhs and Hindus to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brethren and tell the EDL that their sinister aims of ‘divide and rule’ will not work. Otherwise it’s the Muslims today and it will be all us tomorrow. I urge everyone, especially our youth to come to Luton on 5 February and join the peaceful protest against the planned march by the EDL. If the EDL are allowed to march unopposed then they will keep turning up in other towns and cities causing divisions and spreading hatred."