Immediately, I was subjected to a torrent of abuse and threats, but also heard from dozens of Sikhs (mostly women) who had faced a similar kind of intimidation.Most British Sikhs I have spoken to feel shocked and embarrassed that weddings in the UK are being disrupted in this way, but are usually too worried about the backlash from fundamentalists to say so openly – and it is a very British phenomenon.Britain’s Sikhs, long seen as a minority success story, are plagued by a faction of young men ‘defending’ their vision of the culture – and seeking to impose their views by attacking the nuptials of women who marry ‘out’ It was meant to be the happiest day of their lives – a celebration of modern multicultural Britain at the biggest Sikh gurdwara (temple) in the Western world.On 7 August 2015, in west London, a British Sikh bride and her Polish Christian groom sat together and absorbed the religious blessings at their wedding ceremony.To them, it is profoundly disturbing that a recent poll of members by City Sikhs, a 6,000-strong organisation representing professional Sikhs in the UK, should show an overwhelming majority in favour of gurdwaras allowing interfaith marriages.To understand this, one must look to the history of Sikhi [the Sikh faith], the youngest of the world’s major religions, founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the late 1400s.The police were called and eventually the couple were forced to proceed into a hurried ceremony, while the protesters watched and took pictures of them to publish online. The next weekend an interfaith wedding in Lozells, Birmingham, nearly turned into a mass brawl after protesters tried to stop it and, again, the police had to be called.The following weekend, another wedding in Coventry only managed to go ahead after some negotiations with the disrupters.
“They can have prayers inside the gurdwara, they can have part of the function inside a gurdwara, just not the religious ceremony.
They stormed upstairs to the main hall and demanded that the priests end the ceremony, hurling insults at people who objected.
One of them told a priest that, if their demands weren’t met, he would get 1,000 of his friends to come to the temple within the hour.
In 1950, Sikh scholars and priests in India agreed on a code of conduct, after multiple attempts, to define what it meant to be a Sikh and what obligations should be placed on followers.
It stated that the Sikh wedding ceremony (the Anand Karaj) could only take place between two Sikhs of the opposite sex.