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Despite racism, UK Sikhs proud to be British: Survey

June 06, 2013 18:38 IST

A vast majority of British Sikhs are proud of being born or living in Britain, despite many having experienced racism, according to a new survey presented in the United Kingdom Parliament.

The first-ever British Sikh Report is based on an online questionnaire of 650 Sikhs, who were asked about issues including politics, religion and culture.

It is one of the largest studies of Sikhs in Britain and found that 95 per cent of those polled expressed pride in their country of residence.

Britain is home to nearly 760,000 Sikhs.

"It is great to see a proactive approach being taken by the British Sikh community to highlight their concerns, wants and needs in such a comprehensive way," said Paul Uppal, Conservative Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West and the UK's only Sikh Member of Parliament.

"The British Sikh community has made and continues to make a huge contribution to our nation. I welcome the British Sikh Report in its attempt at engaging politicians with the British Sikh community," added Labour leader Ed Miliband.

According to the BBC Asian Network, the report also found that 75 per cent of the Sikhs surveyed had experienced racism.

It goes on to highlight a number of recommendations to tackle racism, including the implementation of an online resource for reporting racism and hate crimes against British Sikhs.

"Sikhs have a rich history in Britain. There has been a Sikh presence in Britain for almost 160 years. The aim of the report is to develop an understanding of the key needs and issues within the British Sikh community. It also provides an invaluable resource for government and Sikhs and other faith organisations to help them understand the views and opinions of Sikhs living in Britain," said Jasvir Singh, BSR chair.

The inaugural report, released this week, has been put together by a team of Sikh professionals and academics.

The BSR will now be published annually with the aim of highlighting the changing attitudes and concerns of the British Sikh population.

It comes as hundreds of Sikhs are expected to gather in London on Sunday to mark the 29th anniversary of Operation Blue Star against terrorists in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar in June 1984.

Image: A young Sikh participates in a demonstration in London | Photograph: Reuters

Aditi Khanna In London
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