On behalf of The Sikh Awareness Society and the many organisations and groups we are affiliated with; we would like to raise our concerns regarding the portrayal, of the Sikh Institution and of those who serve to uphold the sanctity of the Sikh faith, by the BBC.
We hope that by taking time to explore some of the very basic fundamentals shared by all faiths the BBC will not continue to differentiate and single out the Sikh community, by airing the program “Sikh Wedding Crashers” scheduled for broadcast on Monday 11th March 2013.
Similar previous program on the 5th July 2012, “Nihal BBC Asian Network” broadcasted a show that provided in our opinion a fair, balanced and importantly a factual representation of issues concerning interfaith marriage within a Sikh Gurdwara. However the manner in which a 500 year faith was opened for public opinion was in our opinion distasteful and disrespectful. The presenter opened up the listeners to present their own conflicting opinions and beliefs without proper representation from a recognised Sikh Body or Authority to clarify the facts. Would the Catholic Church, Muslim Mosque or any other Religious Institute or body be allowed to be presented in such manner? The program was an attempt to disrupt community cohesion and incite division amongst the communities.
Why is the BBC allowing representation from bodies that clearly operate against the fundamental basic structure and beliefs of a religious organisation/institute that is over 500 years old?
For clarity and understanding proper investigative teams should have worked with the facts written and stated by the supreme body of the Sikhs “The Guru Granth Sahib Ji”. This would fortunately have put a stop to any program hoping to sensualise or, dramatise an issue on a public domain purely for entertainment.
The presenter and the BBC seem to have clearly already realised and such stated facts surrounding the issue, during the program;
- Sikhs do not serve judgement on others.
- To partake in a Sikh Marriage Ceremony (to accept Guru Ji’s Hukam read during the ceremony)…you must have accepted the faith.
The Sikh Awareness Society has been inundated with emails, calls and personal messages regarding a program to be aired on BBC Asian Network on Monday 11th March 2013, titled “Sikh Wedding Crashers”, a program covering issues under the opening paragraph of
“Mixed marriages are on the increase, but some Sikh couples face threats…
…Gurdwara where they dreamt of getting married reluctant to perform ceremonies”
The very heading is defamatory, and negatively suggestive about practising Sikhs all over the world. This based on facts already uncovered by your previous program is another attempt to highlight and cause controversy and conflict within a peaceful faith.
- No couple Sikh or other should be facing threats from Sikhs; that is not the Sikh way; Sikhs have a history of selfless serving and protecting others.
- A couple who do not understand ethos and principles of a faith/institution should respectfully decline and not attempt to marry within that institute.
- Devotees and followers of an Institution or faith have justification in upholding the sanctity of their belief, principles and ethos; this should be respected by all parties, including the BBC.
- Mixed marriages between “SIKHS” have never been and cannot be “banned” from Sikh Gurdwara. In the same manner a Church or Mosque would accept a practising couple into their community.
- The Gurdwara as with every other religious faith or institution should not be seen as “just a photo opportunity to dress up”. The religious faith or institution has the right to stop and ban such practices that are deemed disrespectful and harmful to such “CHOSEN” way of life.
- The Gurdwara presents itself in the public as a Sikh place of worship and Sikh practices. Should; such Institution / faith religion, its followers allow the Gurdwara to become a business enterprise for personal gain?
In broadcasting such programs the BBC is flouting with discrimination and singling out the Sikh community. This would again be unfair representation without facts investigated and learned from the Sikh perspective “The Guru Granth Sahib Ji” Views portrayed instead by the public based on public emotion opinion and speculation.
We humbly request you to stop such programming and practices that serve only to fuel, public animosity, lack of understanding and truth.
Sikhs hope that with better understanding and acceptance together we can eradicate the many issues facing our communities for better community cohesion and peace.