2011 has been one of the most eventful years in recent history. The world population now exceeds 7 billion. We face global economic crisis while natural and man-made disasters have taken their toll. Tyrannical regimes have tumbled and the most wanted terrorist in the world, Osama bin Laden, has been killed.
We watched helplessly, as the summer madness swept across English cities and shops and businesses were looted and set on fire.
Prime Minister David Cameron warned us following the summer riots, that these unprecedented events were “a wake up call for the country.” Indeed, it was also a wake up call for all religious communities in the UK to work together to meet the challenges of diversity in human society, and to unite by sharing human values preached by all religions.
The economic and environmental challenges which the ever shrinking
global village continues to face, seem almost unsurmountable. Yet
these challenges can also be a spur to finding solutions for the
survival of the humankind.
Sikh thought stresses, “Where God exists there is no selfishness, where self exists there is no God.” There is need for balance between material ambition and spiritual well-being. Community involvement is necessary for the creation of a just and peaceful society. Every person needs to work for peace; especially those who lead communities, and those who are in positions of power and authority.
To the religious zealot, the Sikh message is clear: God is everywhere and in everyone; no religion is superior to another. No matter which religious path one follows, all will miss their final religious objective without truthful conduct and good deeds. There is no place for terrorism in true religion; nor for those who incite hatred against other religions.
It is futile to seek converts to own religion by condemning others and fighting wars in the name of religion. True religion should seek converts to peace and contentment while respecting the rights of others.
In connection with religious freedom, Britain has led the world in respecting the rights of people from many diverse religious backgrounds. Sikhs are proud of their “British” identity. Sikhs are also proud of their distinct Sikh identity which is associated with their outstanding military service in Europe during the two World Wars.
Sikhs in the United Kingdom urge the British government in 2012, to persuade EU countries to fully accept Sikh identity as an important religious right.
Today we see the results of selfish pursuit of power and wealth, and irresponsible consumerism. There is much human poverty and suffering while the rich get richer. Guru Nanak’s universal message to humankind is highly relevant: to live a life of service, a life of sharing with others, and belief in equality of humankind before One Creator of all.
Sikhs invite people of all beliefs to do something about the environment to save “Great Mother Earth” (Mata Dharat Mahat).
How the human race rises to the challenges ahead, will shape the world in the years to come.
© Copyright Gurmukh Singh (U.K.)
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