By Divya Talwar BBC Asian Network – Source BBC NEWS
The survey found most Sikhs questioned were proud to live in Britain
Three-quarters of the UK’s Sikhs have experienced racism but 95% are proud of being born or living in Britain, a survey suggests.
The first British Sikh Report (BSR) has been launched in Parliament.
The 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 gives a more in-depth insight than the 2011 Census.
Britain’s only Sikh MP, Paul Uppal, welcomed the report.
The Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West said: “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. ”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “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.”
British Sikh Report
- Of those who experienced racism, 53.4% said the racist incident had occurred in the last 18 months
- 94.1% of British Sikhs are interested in Sikh culture and heritage
- 96% would like to see more Sikhs on mainstream British TV
- Three out of 10 identified with a caste, but only 3% thought caste was important
- 71% go to the gurdwara (temple) at least once a month
- 10.6% are a carer for someone in their family
- 71% of British Sikh women who have experienced gender discrimination have done so within their extended family
The report highlights a number of recommendations to tackle racism, including the implementation of an online resource for reporting racism and hate crime against British Sikhs, similar to the Tell Mama programme for the Muslim community.
Asif Sadiq, chair of the National Association of Muslim Police, said: “It is clearly shocking that such high numbers of British Sikhs have been victims of racism.
“Maybe Sikhs are being targeted because they are perceived to be Muslim by some people, it is therefore very important to understand the nature of the racist incidents that Sikhs are facing.”
Jasvir Singh, chair of the BSR, said: “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 Sikh and other faith organisations to help them understand the views and opinions of Sikhs living in Britain.”
One of the central tenets of the Sikh faith is equality for all, including gender equality.
But the report suggests only 55% believe there is gender equality within the Sikh community.
Among the women questioned, 43% said they had experienced discrimination based on their gender, compared with 14% of men.
Mr Singh said: “This study gives Sikhs an insight into their own community and raises some important issues and concerns that Sikhs need to address themselves.
“It’s hoped we can use this information to take positive steps and changes.”
The report suggested a high degree of political engagement within the Sikh community – 70.9% said they voted in the 2010 general election, while 23.6% said they had not voted in any elections during the last four years.
The inaugural report 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.
To find out more about the British Sikh Report click here