Tam Burke, IMT Edinburgh
People are shocked and outraged at attacks on the Sikh Gurdwara at Sherriff Brae, Leith, and the damage to the nearby YMCA in Junction Place on 28th August. Fortunately, soon after the attacks a passer-by saw fire and smoke coming from the door of the Sikh Temple. The fire brigade soon arrived and put out the flames, which were caused by a lit rag stuffed into a canister of petrol. A 49 year old man has appeared in court in relation to the attack.
In August, the Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh (MWAE) issued a public statement of strong support for those affected and organised a solidarity rally. About 250 people came together outside the Sikh Temple, which was a former Church of Scotland kirk, and for 50 years now the faith centre of Edinburgh’s Sikhs. Local and national politicians from the Greens, Labour and the SNP spoke, as well as representatives of religious groups including the MWAE and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. There were also speakers from Stand Up to Racism Scotland, Unite Against Fascism and other local community campaigners.
Both the YMCA and the Sikhs are long established in Leith and carry out peaceful activity for the benefit of local people, regardless of who they are. Gurdwara members regularly feed people for free and are known for their hospitality (there were tea and buns available after the rally). It’s no wonder these attacks have been met with anger and disbelief. Local Labour Councillor Gordon Munro expressed everyone’s determination that such divisive action would not be tolerated, that it would not be allowed to pass but instead would be an impetus to unify