London: After Sikh body Sikh Federation Uk’s strong protest top UK diplomat Simon McDonald apologised for calling Sikhs’ holiest place, Sri Harimadir Sahib (the Golden Temple), a mosque.
Writing on Twitter, Sir Simon McDonald identified the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, as the “Golden Mosque”.
McDonald apologised, tweeting: “I was wrong: I am sorry. I should of course have said the Golden Temple or, better, Sri Harmandir Sahib.”
Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: “This was a major gaffe by a top civil servant and totally unacceptable. It demonstrates a remarkable level of ignorance from someone in his position.”
“What hope is there for the average person to distinguish between Sikhs and Muslims, if someone holding his position can make such a massive blunder while visiting the Sikh homeland?”
“Unfortunately, it is this sort of ignorance or ‘mistaken identity’ that breeds hate and has resulted in Sikhs being abused, attacked and in some cases killed across the globe since 9/11.”
“In our view a public apology and admitting the mistake is not enough. What we need is a commitment from the UK Government and senior civil servants to root out such ignorance and discrimination or we will continue to face hate, abuse and threats of violence.”
Sri Harimadir Sahib also known as The Golden Temple, located in the city of Amritsar, is one of the most revered spiritual sites of Sikhism in the world.