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Why those campaigning to categorise ‘Sikh’ as an ethnicity are wrong

Guru Nanak was the founder of global world religion, not an ethnic group.

Editor's note: Below are excerpts from an OP/ED written by British blogger Hardeep Singh.
When does a religion become an ethnic group? You may consider the premise of this question absurd – after all ethnicity is immutable, faith a choice. Bizarrely however, this has become the subject of a major dispute amongst British Sikhs. It hinges on whether or not a Sikh ‘ethnic’ tick-box should be included by the ONS in the 2021 Census. A voluntary question – ‘what is your religion?’ already exists, with ‘Sikh’ an option which 423,000 readily chose back in 2011. Back then a campaign resulted in 83,000 Sikhs refusing to select the available ethnicity tick boxes (eschewing Indian because of the Indian government’s betrayal of Sikhs in the 1980s), opting instead to write in ‘Sikh’ in the space for ‘other ethnic group.’ Campaigners like the Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) say that the absence of an ethnic option disadvantages Sikhs in service provision, in areas like healthcare and hate crime – but evidence for this is thin on the ground...

...A longstanding opponent to the proposed Census change is Lord Singh of Wimbledon, the Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations (I declare an interest). In a letter to the Times last week, the crossbench peer said: ‘Guru Nanak was the founder of global world religion, not an ethnic group. Sikhs can be of multiple ethnicities but share a belief in Sikhism.’ Lord Singh was expert witness in Mandla, so his words will provide food for thought. It’s a no brainer that a Caucasian convert to Sikhism (not that we proselytise) will ultimately retain his or her biological ethnicity. From a theological perspective, the tenth Guru Gobind Singh’s clear edict – ‘recognise the human race as one’ – transcends all man made labels in favour of the universal nature of humanity. The stretching of ‘ethnicity’ to protect Sikhs against religious discrimination was understandable in the early 1980s. To use it now, when all religions are equally protected, is seeking special status, and goes against basic Sikh teachings....

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