London: Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd visited a Gurdwara in Southall to discuss the importance of tackling hate crime against Sikhs, amid reports of increased hate crimes after the Brexit vote.
Rudd met with Sikh leaders, community groups, local charities and the Sikh Council UK at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall, London and discussed about work underway to bring the community together to beat hatred.
"The Sikh community plays an important role in the diverse Britain that works for everyone and I was delighted to visit the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara and hear about the important work taking place to unite the community," she said.
"Hate crime has absolutely no place in our society and it is vital we protect those who follow this peaceful religion. That is why I've made over 3 million pounds available to protect places of worship and for community projects to combat hatred, and I'd urge all Gurdwaras and Sikh groups to consider whether this funding could help them," Rudd added.
Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara plays an important role in the Government's Near Neighbours programme, which brings together people from different faiths and backgrounds in diverse areas so they can work together to improve their communities, she noted.
"The Sikh Council UK welcomes the visit by the Home Secretary to a landmark Gurdwara in the heart of a diverse community. This was a great opportunity to see first-hand the Sikh ethos of self help and community cohesion in action," Sikh Council UK Secretary General Gurmel Singh said.
"The Home Secretary's commitment towards tackling hate crime and improving community cohesion is acknowledged, and the role faith can play in modern Britain is very well received by the community," he said.
The Home Secretary's latest engagement with the Sikh community comes after she co-hosted a roundtable for faith representatives with the Communities Secretary last month, with attendees including the Sikh Council and Lord Singh CBE from the Network of Sikh Organisations.
The Home Secretary published the Hate Crime Action Plan in July, which included measures to combat racial and religious hate crime.
Alongside action to encourage greater reporting and tougher sentences, she announced 2.4 million pounds that places of worship which are at risk of, or which have been victims of, hate crime can apply for to fund security measures such as CCTV or fences.
The UK has witnessed a "horrible spike" in hate crimes in London following Britain's referendum in June in favour of an exit from the European Union.
UK Home Office figures released in October showed racist or religious abuse incidents recorded by police in England and Wales jumped 41 per cent in the month after the UK voted to quit the EU.