Home Campus UK University Tags Sikh Langar Event Under “Discover Islam Week,” Draws Flak

UK University Tags Sikh Langar Event Under “Discover Islam Week,” Draws Flak

The world is progressing at a fast rate with many advancements being seen made in the technology and information sector and others as well.

However, it seems that people still have to deal with certain issues especially when it comes to cultures and different communities in the West who are non-white.

The recent incident with a British university has once again highlighted that to a lot of Western or white-oriented sectors, many of the brown or Desi people still are almost interchangeable and work still needs to be done to get past that.

What Happened?

Earlier this month, students from the University of Birmingham’s Sikh Society hosted the “Langar on Campus” event, something that has been held on campus for 20 years now. The concept of Langar comes from the Sikh community and is a community kitchen where people are given free meals with anyone and everyone being allowed in without caring about their background.

The langar has become popular as a concept there and over 15 other universities also hold similar events where the students give out free vegetarian food on campus.

The issue came in when the official Instagram account of the university labelled a promotion post of the event wrongly and tagged is as part of “Discover Islam Week” a separate campaign held annually by the Islamic Society of the institute.

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The Instagram page of the UoB Sikh Society also posted about it and added a statement saying “Yes, you saw that correctly: The 20th Langar on Campus anniversary at @unibirmingham was labelled as part of “Discover Islam Week.” At a red brick university that prides itself on its diversity, not to mention the significant presence of Sikh staff and students, this mislabeling is concerning.

It prompts critical reflection: How did this error occur, and why was there a lack of meaningful engagement with the Sikh society? This isn’t the first time Sikhi has been misrepresented at the university.

The absence of an apology or ownership from the university only re-emphasizes our concern. We seek clarity on how the University plans to address this oversight and what it will do to prevent future occurrences.

Ironically, this was the year that as a sikh society we made parchaar (Sikhi discourse) the focal point of our Langar on Campus, but the above situation acts as a stark reminder of the reality of the uphill battle that lies ahead. We would call for all university Sikh Socs to make parchaar the bedrock of their events – this can be done by having parchaar training sessions ahead of LOCs.

We also highly recommend that each of us to do our own khoj (research) and help spread the message of sikhi.”

Jasveer Singh, spokesperson of the Sikh Press Association (PA) commenting on the incident also said “It is disappointing but very revealing to see those in charge of the public image of the University of Birmingham (UoB) are ignorant regarding the communities at the university.”

He said as per the Birmingham Mail “There is clearly an issue with the training and education given to UoB staff. Sikhs have been a prominent segment of the University of Birmingham community for decades.”

According to The Birmingham Mail, the university quickly deleted the post and apologised for the mistake of the post confusing Sikh students with Muslim students.

A UoB spokesperson quickly put out an apology from the institute’s side saying “The university sincerely apologises for any offence or upset this has caused”  

The statement further said “We recognise this post was incorrect. It was identified shortly after being posted and immediately deleted. The university respects and celebrates the diversity of our community and continually works to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment. We have made contact with relevant individuals and groups to apologise directly and listen to their views.”

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: CNBC TV18, India Today, PTI

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: UK University, UK University Sikhs Muslims, UK University, Sikhs, Muslims, british university, University of Birmingham, Sikh community, langar, langar Sikh community, social media post, UoB

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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