Sikhs and Muslims have a shared Punjabi history and heritage, which has been complex, rich, and textured. The various tensions circulating in the diaspora can be overcome and challenged, perhaps this is more so necessary a task in current times which have witnessed the intensification of violent racism and Islamophobia affecting both communities.
- Sikh and Muslim history around the Mughals and partition needs to be honoured and understood critically; there is no valid reason for such remembrance to be read through an Islamophobic lens which only seeks to separate and divide the communities. The past must be respected and documented objectively and thoughtfully in order for both communities to move forward.
- Contemporary myths of ‘forced’ conversions need to be interrupted and critiqued. There is a lack of evidence to support the claims made by Sikhs against Muslims, this is a sensitive issue which requires solidarity rather then a division which is capitalized on by Anti-Muslim groups.
- Sikhs and Muslims are both experiencing the effects of Islamophobia in the war on terror. This has been felt at both the ground level with daily abuse, and at the state level with discriminatory practices of racial profiling. This is an opportunity for Sikhs and Muslims to share and document their experiences, and display unity, solidary, and collective organization in the struggle against racism and Islamophobia.
- Sikhs and Muslims share a rich history and have many commonalities. It is imperative that these commonalities, rather than differences and hostilities, are emphasized throughout the communities in order to establish mutual understanding and respect amongst our future generations.
- Sustained intercultural learning and interfaith dialogue is necessary to enhance communal bonds and enriching knowledge. In practice this entails both communities engaging with each other and inviting each other to share spaces for discussion and the exchange of ideas.
- The development of local, national, and international networks between Sikh and Muslim communities is important to ensure sustained, cross-cultural, channels of communication. Such interfaith networks will enable links between the communities to strengthen and expand throughout the diaspora.
My research continues to be committed to challenging Sikh and Muslim tensions, Islamophobia and racism. As my work in this area continues to develop I aim to:
- Produce critically engaged academic publications
- Organize workshops and events for members of the community on these issues
- Participate within conferences both national and international related to these matters
- Engage within future collaborative research to ensure work within this area continues to develop
Nelson Mandela once famously said that, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Through continued education and critical knowledge, Sikh and Muslim communities can move beyond tensions and hostilities as they embrace, and learn, the value and significance of the shared bonds which continue to connect the communities past, present, and future.