The attack on the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Sheriff Brae, Leith caused shock and initial confusion within our community. Police were called to a blaze at 5am last Tuesday.
Galab Singh, a committee member of the Gurdwara Sahib said: “When I heard there was a fire I had to rush here and go upstairs to check Mahraaj’s saroops with my own eyes.
“I’m quite surprised at this attack, the Gurdwara Sahib enjoys a good relationship with the local community here.”
As a local resident, I too was shocked by the attack. The Sikh Temple is well known in the area for its charitable works, including the distribution of hot Indian food to the needy. I have often witnessed them on the streets doing this good work. They are highly regarded throughout all sections of the community in Leith.
At first the motive was assumed to be a ‘racist’ crime or one aimed just at the Sikh community. It appeared to follow a pattern of other attacks (on Mosques). A vigil was called on that basis for last Thursday by Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh and was well attended. It was heartwarming to see people of all backgrounds and faiths expressing solidarity.
It emerged late on Wednesday, however, that a Methodist Church in Junction Place Leith
The Methodist Centre attacked
(pictured) had also been targeted. This cast doubt on the original speculation as to motive. It was only after the arrest of a 49-year-old man that Police released the information.
It’s incredibly sad and obviously the person responsible is deeply disturbed. Both places of worship really give much to the community in Leith. I’ve mentioned the good work of Gurdwara Sahib but the Church also contributes a lot too. My children, when younger, attended the Acorn Club they run during the school holidays, to give but one example.
The good news from all this is that the community in Leith understands what has happened and is overwhelmingly sympathetic to the victims of these shocking, evil crimes. Leith is a great community to live in and the actions of one embittered individual will not change that. Yesterday I attended our annual Mela celebration on Leith Links. It’s a celebration of different cultures. Everyone was enjoying themselves listening to music, eating from a variety of stalls (including Fish and Chips!) and watching dancing and fashion shows. Life goes on and it is good!