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.
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.
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?
we constantly talk about the globalisation of trade and commerce,
but often forget the most important aspect of this irreversible
process; the increasing movement of people, and the greater interaction
of different religions and cultures.
recently, we could afford to look at the quaint ways and beliefs
of those in more distant lands, in a superior academic way that
added to a sense of national identity by superficially differentiating
between us and them. Now, the same attitudes can lead to disastrous
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
me the importance of the Queen's visits to other places of worship,
is that she translated belief into action, in this very visible
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.