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Thought for the Day
Thought for the Day, 9 August 2002

Indarjit Singh

Last Thursday, I was privileged to accompany Her Majesty the Queen in her visit to a Sikh gurdwara in Leicester where she was received with typical
Sikh warmth and hospitality. It was her first visit to a Sikh place of worship in this Country, but you wouldn't have guessed it from her relaxed and confident manner. A police van full of posies of flowers spontaneously presented to her by little children, testified to the popularity of her visit.

The previous day, the Queen had gone to a mosque in Scunthorpe. The importance of these visits showing respect for other faiths, cannot be sufficiently stressed. It was a clear message from the Queen, that showing respect for other ways of life, in no way compromises our own religious identity.

In the same way as the Queen has, in these Jubilee celebrations, made clear that she is queen of all her people, our different religions make clear that
God's love extends in equal measure to all humanity. As a verse from Sikh scriptures reminds us: From the Divine Light all Creation sprang Why then
should we divide human creatures into the high and the Low?

Today, we constantly talk about the globalisation of trade and commerce, but often forget the most important aspect of this irreversible globalisation
process; the increasing movement of people, and the greater interaction of different religions and cultures.

Until recently, we could afford to look at the quaint ways and beliefs of those in more distant lands, in a superior academic way that perversely
added to a sense of national identity by superficially differentiating between us and them. Now, the same attitudes can lead to disastrous social

Laws, in themselves, cannot ensure good behaviour. All they can do is define the boundaries of unacceptable behaviour, which is not the same thing. Good or considerate behaviour requires a genuine respect for the rights and beliefs of others, as emphasised in our different religious texts. But a
mere tacit recognition of fundamental truths is not enough. As Guru Nanak taught: Truth is high, but higher still is truthful living.

To me the importance of the Queen's visits to other places of worship, is that she translated belief into action, in this very visible demonstration
of her respect for other faiths. Her initiative is a powerful lead to us all, and will I'm sure, be the most important legacy of this Jubilee year.

copyright 2002 BBC

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