An Inter-faith Wedding
After BBC reports in March 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21721519), a rising number of UK Gurdwara's are continuing to carry out inter-faith marriages against Rehat Maryada (Sikh code of conduct) which states 'Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony.' As such, all inter-faith marriages are illegitimate in accordance with Sikhism.
The rules on the Anand Karaj, which is the formal name for the Sikh wedding, are set by the religion's supreme governing body which is based at the Golden Temple (Sri Akal Takht) in Amritsar, India.
In 2007 it advised gurdwaras the anand karaj should only be between two Sikhs, protesters say some gurdwara committees are not respecting the faith by allowing non-Sikhs who do not believe in the religion to marry there.
Would you expect to see a muslim being married in a church? or a christian in a mosque? Yet, Sikh Gurdwara Masands have fallen so low that they will do almost anything for money.
Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall is the UK's largest Sikh gurdwara. Investigators have discovered that over 75% of recently conducted marriages at Singh Sabha, Southall are those where at least one partner is not Sikh.
To Avoid Sangat Outrage Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall
Gurdwara Masands charge approx. £1200 for the service and akhand path, however the Masands may be breaking the law. Wedding partners may be able to sue Gurdwaras for 'false pretenses' as under Sikh rules they would not be seen as 'wed' and therefore may be able to recieve refunds and/ or compensation covering full wedding expenses. Individuals are advised to seek appropriate legal advice before commencing proceedings.
To avoid Sangat outrage Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall conducts inter-faith marriages during weekdays.
Gurdwara Masands have not commented on whether they would allow Sikh gay and lesbian weddings, which they would also be obliged to perform under current UK law.
An un-named source at Singh Sabha, Southall has said the gurdwara is reviewing its marriage policy.
Gurdwaras that have nothing to fear are publishing details of all marriages taking place. Other Gurdwara's, notably in Slough and the Midlands do not allow inter-faith marriages.
The trend in Sikh inter-faith marriages is mainly being undertaken by third generation Sikhs that use Sikh weddings as a tactic to appease parents and/ or relatives that would not otherwise saction western relationships. It is common for neither partner to believe in the Sikh faith, its teachings or the principles of Sikhism.
A number of lawyers have been contacted and legal advice has suggested that Gurdwara's carrying out inter-faith marriages are at risk of litigation.
We would advise anyone that feels they have been misled by Gurdwara Masands, to seek appropriate legal advice.
If you know of any inter-faith marriages taking place, contact us.
by Jasbir Singh
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