Canada scraps Sikh extremism

Trudeau removes a reference to Sikh extremism from the '2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada'

By PTI in Toronto
  • Published 15.04.19, 12:07 AM
  • Updated 15.04.19, 12:07 AM
  • a min read
Justin Trudeau takes part in Vaisakhi celebrations in Vancouver on Saturday. (AP)

The Canadian government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has removed a reference to Sikh extremism from its 2018 report on terrorism that had earlier mentioned it as one of the top five terrorist threats to the country.

The updated version of the “2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada” was released on Friday, Toronto-based CBC News quoted The Canadian Press news agency as saying.

The language in the report was changed to remove any mention of religion, instead discussing the threat posed by “extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India”, it reported.

The 2018 report on terrorism, first released in December last year, had drawn the ire of the Sikh community as it was the first time the Canada government had listed Sikh extremism as one of the top five extremist threats to the country, CBC News said.

Public safety minister Ralph Goodale had said he would at least ask for a review of the language the report used. He said entire religions should never be equated with terrorism, CBC News reported.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Trudeau praised the minority Sikh community as he visited a gurdwara on the occasion of Vaisakhi.

“Vaisakhi is a time to focus on what matters — family, friends, and coming together as neighbours & fellow Canadians — and an opportunity to recognise the remarkable contributions Sikh Canadians have made to our country. What a celebration in Vancouver today!” he had tweeted.

The dedication to helping others at the heart of the Sikh faith is also “fundamental to who we are as a country”, Trudeau said at one of the largest Sikh temples in the country, Vancouver’s Ross Street Gurdwara.

Trudeau, along with defence minister Harjit Sajjan, also took part in a massive parade to mark Vaisakhi.

Trudeau praised the Sikh community for its values of “equality and social justice”.

There are roughly half-a-million Canadians who identify themselves as Sikh, most of them in the Greater Toronto area and suburban Vancouver.