MPs Back Sikh Campaign for Independent Recognition

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Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Correspondent

Midland MPs are backing British Sikhs in their campaign for full recognition as a distinct ethnic group.

The Government should issue guidelines to ensure Sikhs are properly protected from discrimination and receive the services they need, the Labour MPs said.

Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr), Dennis Turner (Wolverhampton South East), Rob Marris (Wolverhampton South West) and Tom Watson (West Bromwich East), made the demand in a Parliamentary motion.

It follows a campaign by Sikhs across the country, including an estimated 40,000 in the Midlands.

Representatives presented a petition to Downing Street, signed by organisations including the Birmingham Council of Sikh Gurdwaras, or temples. Sikhs argue that they should be recognised as a nation, rather than simply classed as Asians who share a common religion.

This would mean including a box for Sikhs to tick on the census form, and monitoring Sikh employment, health and education patterns. This information, already collected for other ethnic groups, is used by national and local government to help organise public services. …