POLICE are investigating after anti-Islamic graffiti and a Nazi swastika were left on the wall of a Sikh temple in Glasgow.
Green lettering which read “F*** Islam. No Shariah!” was scrawled on the wall of the Central Gurdwara (place of worship) in Berkeley Street late last month.
Police Scotland said the incident is being treated as a hate crime, while Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy described it as “stupid and sickening”.
The £15 million temple, which will be the biggest of its kind in Scotland and Glasgow’s largest religious building, is due to open this summer.
Surjit Singh Chowdhary, vice-president of Central Gurdwara, said the Sikh community was in “complete shock” following the discovery of the graffiti.
“The Sikh community’s gift to Glasgow has been commandeered as a platform for the hateful messages which do not belong in our country,” he said.
There is no room in our society for racial abuse and it is not acceptable to treat people in such a manner.Chief Inspector Simon Midgely
“We hope that Glasgow stands shoulder to shoulder with us and we extend an open welcome to everyone to learn about Sikhs and our Gurdwara. The only way to challenge hate is through education to promote understanding of Scotland’s diverse communities.”
The Central Gurdwara is Scotland’s second purpose-built Sikh temple. Another gurdwara opened in Pollokshields in Glasgow’s southside in 2013 and has already recorded over 70,000 non-Sikh visitors.
Charandeep Singh, the Central Gurdwara’s general secretary, said the vandalism of the new building represented “ignorance at its worst”.
Mr Singh said: “Unfortunately in this climate of rampant
Islamophobia, members of the Sikh community have fallen victim too. Instances ranging from jeers of ‘Taliban’ or ‘Bin Laden’ directed at turban-wearing Sikh men, to the firebombing of a Gurdwara in Kent after the 7/7 London terrorist attacks, have beset the Sikh community.
“This episode is a sad reminder that Sikhs, Muslims, Jews and other minorities face public ridicule and criminal attacks which go against the values of our society. The perpetrators here are totally ignorant to the values of the Sikh community and the contribution made by Sikhs over nearly 100 years.
“This sad incident should energise our political leaders and fellow citizens to continue the campaign to root out such hateful beliefs.”
The graffiti has now been removed, but police are appealing for any information about the incident, which is thought to have taken place on March 23 or 24, but was not reported until
Chief Inspector Simon Midgely, area commander for Glasgow West End, said: “There is no room in our society for racial abuse and it is not acceptable to treat people in such a manner. I have no doubt that this incident caused individuals considerable distress, but I would like to reassure them that this matter is under investigation.
“I would like to thank the Gurdwara who contacted police to report the matter, indicating clearly that people in Scotland will not tolerate racism. If anyone has any additional information or knowledge, please do get in touch with us.”
Labour leader Jim Murphy said: “There is no place for this type of stupid and sickening offensive behaviour at a religious site. The Sikh community is an important part of modern Scotland and it is shameful that this iconic building should be targeted in this way.”
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