No wedding for you

Today in Leamington Spa:

Armed officers were called to a Sikh temple in Leamington Spa on Sunday morning after more than 50 men, some carrying blades, entered the building to stop an interfaith marriage service.

For around eight hours, the group, described by a trustee of the Gurdwara temple as “fanatical extremists”, occupied the foyer, forcing the postponement of a wedding between a Sikh bride and a Hindu groom that had been scheduled for Sunday.

That’s nice, isn’t it? Interrupting and stopping someone else’s wedding because the couple don’t have the same religion.

Late in the afternoon the police arrested 55 men – 55 men who forcibly halted a wedding that was none of their business. Weapons were seized; all but one of them were kirpans, those ceremonial daggers that have become a “religious rights” issue when they are banned from schools.

It was the third or fourth time in recent months that a group of men had attempted to gain entry to the Gurdwara over the issue of mixed marriages. On previous occasions they were resisted by temple security staff, according a trustee of the Gurdwara.

He told the Guardian the intruders were carrying ceremonial Sikh blades and other knives and occupied the temple reception area. At the time a routine early morning religious service was under way attended by several dozen worshippers.

“They pushed around a couple of people, grabbed a tie, grabbed someone’s phone and they were trying to threaten people,” claimed the trustee, who asked not to be named. “People were scared. When a normal person goes to the Gurdwara they go to pray and be at peace. People are really, really annoyed with them.”

Religious fanaticism is no one’s friend.

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