A few days ago, a fifteen-year old Sikh boy was assaulted by a gang in Pilrig Park, Edinburgh. During the attack, the gang took a knife, and cut off the boy’s hair. Sikhs, of course, believe that hair (“Kes” or “Kesh”) is a gift from God and a source of spiritual power and faith. So the crime was a violation not only of the body, but of the soul too. It was in effect an attack upon all Sikhs, an entire section of our Edinburgh community. I am ashamed it happened.
This is a photo of a vigil held this afternoon, Sunday 19th November, at the site of the attack. Plenty of tam o’ shanters and turbans in attendance. You can also see Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz at the centre of the picture.
Lothian and Borders Police confirmed the attack had not taken place and said the boy had expressed remorse. They said no further action would be taken.
The teenager is believed to have had personal problems and was also having cultural identity issues brought about by differences between his Sikh upbringing and Western society.
This is one of the overlooked aspects of multiculturalism. The different and conflicting identities that exist within an individual are as important as the different groups that exist within the country.