SUPPORTING ENGLAND DESPITE THE HATERS: Shop manager stands up against football racists

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

A shop owner of Indian heritage, who was allegedly abused by racists and warned off his show of support by a fellow Indian after adorning his business with the flag of St. George in support of the England World Cup football team has vowed to fight back against the prejudice he suffered by increasing the number of flags flying at his shop, the Ilford Recorder newspaper reported today.

The unnamed owner of GMS Heating & Plumbing Spares, Ilford Lane, in the London-Essex town of Ilford, a Sikh Punjabi, declared his backing of the ‘Three Lions’ team by placing the distinctive red-and-white cross of England around the outside of his store, as well as a string of smaller flags of all the national teams in the World Cup across the shopfront.

 

The decorations riled some locals, who did not understand why a person of Indian origin was supporting England, even though he had lived in the country for forty years and had been supporting the national team for twenty years. Staff at GMS began receiving hate mail and letters criticising their manager’s allegiances. One handwritten missive accused the manager of forgetting his heritage and disavowing his culture and skin colour. The rambling letter went on to say that if National Front racists had seen the flags, the shop owner would have been ” [kicked] back to Indian with out (sic) your trousers on and give you flower (sic) to take”

The note, written anonymously and addressing the GMS owner as ‘Uncle’, annoyed the man and he has vowed to now add more England flags to his football display. 

The manager told the Recorder that the letters would not stop him supporting his favourite side, but that it had cast a shadow over the store’s World Cup celebrations.

“It is shocking how backward minded people think that by supporting the country you live in you will be dishonouring our religion or insulting India,” he added.

“These are the wrong people, not the ones who enjoy being part of the English culture.”

David Landau, a senior caseworker at the local people relations charity Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, said abuse in any form should not be tolerated and needs to be reported.

“This is a rather unusual situation but abuse is abuse and if someone is abused for putting up England flags this is wrong,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be happening and racism needs to be condemned.”

Another South Asian-owned business on the same Ilford road, which runs through the far west of the town along the border with Newham, also reported receiving similar letters after they also flew English flags outside their premises.

SOURCES:

Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/IlfordRecorder/

“Abusive letters won’t stop Ilford Sikh shopkeeper from displaying England flags during the Football World Cup” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (24 June 2018) http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/ilford-manager-will-put-up-more-england-flags-after-abusive-letters-1-5574492

IMAGE CREDIT: 

“SO7192 : Old Castle pub in Bridgnorth” – Jaggery, geograph (2 July 2014) https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4099318

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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PHOTO MOMENT: Khalsa Aid – a selfie against war

with Vipul Bhundia (contributor)

(c) Khalsa Aid

“ALL SIDES IN ALL WARS NEED TO STOP KILLING/ TARGETING CHILDREN.

God bless the children in war zones …”

Today’s photo was shared on Facebook by my cousin. A devout Sikh man silently protests against the killing of children in wars across the globe. His placard, written in thick black marker pen on a piece of paper, reads: “Please STOP killing children in wars created by grown men!! – @Khalsa_Aid

Khalsa Aid is an international non-profit organisation and humanitarian charity founded in 1999 according to the Sikh principle of ‘seva‘ or selfless service onto others. Drawing inspiration from one of the original ten holy gurus of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Khalsa Aid follows his teaching that Sikhs should “recognise the entire human race as one”. The charity first saw action during the Kosovo war of 1999, when a call was answered to send volunteers to the stricken ethnic Albanian population there who were being persecuted by the Yugoslav army under then president Slobodan Milosevic. Two trucks and a van with aid donated by the Sikh community in the UK were driven all the way to Kosovo.

Since then, Khalsa Aid have helped the victims of wars and disasters in places as diverse as Syria, Haiti, Libya, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to war and disaster, the charity’s volunteers, who often offer their assistance with immediate short notice, also take part in anti-drug programmes, art therapy and helping on water purifications projects.

Currently the conflicts in Syria and in Palestine has seen children suffer inexorably. In Syria, where numerous rebel factions are fighting a protracted war against the government, it has been estimated by the Oxford Research Group think tank that 11,000 young Syrians have perished in the three years since hostilities began. The situation has seen thousands of families flee into neighbouring countries where children are crammed into makeshift refugee camps with little food or educational facilities. Many have been traumatised by the horrors they witnessed, seeing family members slaughtered in front of them or the relentless sounds of bombing and gunfire. The deliberate targeting and summary of Syrian children, especially young boys, has become so perverse in its frequency, that one BBC journalist described the targeted torturing and killing as “a war on childhood”.

Meanwhile the recent flare-up of tension between Israel and Palestine has already seen whole families wiped out by missiles, while the latest phase of the decades-long tension began when three Israeli seminary students were abducted by an unknown militant group and murdered. In a retaliatory attack, a Palestinian teenager was abducted and then set on fire alive. As Israel mounts operations against Hamas rocket launching sites with the Gaza Strip, their disproportionate approach has seen children in Gaza bear the brunt. A recent incident that saw widespread condemnation was the shelling of four boys from the same family who were playing a cops-and-robbers style game on a beach.While enjoying a moment of peace from the sounds of falling bombs, a warship positioned in the Mediterranean sea caught sight of them and began firing.  All four died, while in the aftermath the Israel military claimed that it thought the boys were militants launching an attack on them.

There are hundred of armed conflicts still going on, where children pay the ultimate price. Raped, murdered, abused, and even enlisted as soldiers themselves, war becomes a very horrible and soul-destroying place. For tens of thousands of children across the world, childhood isn’t fun and games. What should have beeen an idyllic time of happiness and smiles instead becomes one of tears and pain. No war ever begun because of a child, but it is they who suffer the most.

KHALSA AID

http://www.khalsaaid.org/

Office 7-8, 111 Whitby Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 3DR, United Kingdom.

Phone: +44 (0)1753 567457

E-mail: info@khalsaaid.org

IMAGE CREDIT:
Khalsa Aid, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Khalsa-Aid/163220440824
SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“About” – Khalsa Aid, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Khalsa-Aid/163220440824?sk=info
“Khalsa Aid – How it started” – Khalsa Aid http://www.khalsaaid.org/whoarewe.html
“Syria conflict: Children ‘targeted by snipers'” – BBC News Middle East, BBC (24 November 2013) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25055956