The Voice(s) of British Sikhs
While undertaking research into the religious identities of young British Sikhs at a Sikh camp in London in 2007, I found them making enormous efforts to learn about the Sikh tradition. This was in stark contrast to statements I had often heard from the stages of gurdwaras (a Sikh place of worship; literally ‘the Guru’s house’), where speakers complained that young Sikhs were no longer interested in religion and were failing to maintain Sikh identity. The particular camp I attended attracted around 120 attendees, was held outside a gurdwara, and demonstrated little involvement from the older generation. The majority of the camp organisers and attendees were aged between 18 and 30 and were Britishborn, with the lectures and discussions being presented in English. These observations immediately raised a number of questions. How were these Sikh camps linked to established Sikh organisations? Apart from these camps, how were young British Sikhs engaging with Sikhism? And most specifically, why were young Sikhs organising events outside gurdwaras when a number of large purpose-built gurdwaras now exist across the United Kingdom?
KeywordsHate Crime Religious Identity British History Student Ethnicity Downing Street
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