CREST Outputs




Racialisation, ‘Religious Violence’ and Radicalisation: The Persistence of Narratives of ‘Sikh Extremism

Recent years have seen concerns raised in media and by policymakers about rising levels of ‘Sikh extremism’ and ‘Sikh radicalisation’ in Western Sikh diasporas.

In this article I analyse why these concerns persist, particularly given the general non-violent nature of ‘Sikh militancy’ (Wallace . “Sikh Militancy and Non-Violence.” In Sikhism In Global Context, edited by Pashaura Singh, 122–144. Oxford University Press) and the relatively few incidents of terrorism beyond those which took place during the height of Sikh militancy in the 1980s.

I argue that these concerns are a consequence of an underlying ‘anxiety about anti-assimilationist religious others’ impacted by (a) the racialisation of religious minorities which began in the colonial period, (b) a specific type of ‘Indian secularism’ which frames Indian legislation and media reporting and (c) the post 9/11 securitisation and increased surveillance of Sikh bodies as part of the ‘War on Terror’ with its concerns about ‘religious violence’ and the necessity of the secular nation state to ensure that any such violence is suitably policed.

This article will be of interest to those examining the racialisation and representations of religious minorities in Western liberal democracies and the impact of securitisation policies on these communities.

(From the journal abstract)

Jasjit Singh, 2019. Racialisation, ‘religious violence’ and radicalisation: the persistence of narratives of ‘Sikh extremism’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Author: Jasjit Singh
Narratives in Action: Modelling the Types and Drivers of Sikh Activism in Diaspora

Using data gathered for an investigation of “Sikh radicalisation in Britain”, in this article I develop a typology of different types of activism among Sikhs in diaspora based on an analysis of historic and contemporary media sources (newspapers, radio, television, online), academic literature, ethnographic fieldwork and a series of semi-structured interviews with self-identifying Sikh activists. I assess the reasons behind a variety of different incidents involving Sikh activists, how Sikh activists view the drivers of their activism and to what extent this activism can be regarded as being “religiously motivated”. I critique existing typologies of “religious activism” by developing a typology of Sikh activism which challenges the distinction often made between “religious” and “political” action. I argue that “religiously motivated actions” must be understood in conjunction with narratives, incidents and issues specific to particular religious traditions and that generic motivations for these actions cannot be applied across all religious traditions.

(From the journal abstract)

Singh, J. (2020b). Narratives in Action: Modelling the Types and Drivers of Sikh Activism in Diaspora. Religions, 11(10), 539.

Author: Jasjit Singh

Back to top