The Sikhs of Vancouver
Print Friendly and PDF Note:This was originally posted at, which is now offline. It's reposted from its version. We're reposting it for informational purposes: Peter Brimelow's article on the Sikh Temple shootings says that "Sikhs are not Amish" but you don't have to take his word for it. The editor of wrote "Editor’s note: As its title indicates, this website normally deals only with issues of race in America. However, Mr. Hengest’s article was so excellent that I could not turn down the chance to publish it."

Kirpan BoyBy Duncan Hengest

First Published March 12, 2009

Racially and culturally, America has no closer kin than Canada. In fact, nearly a quarter of English-speaking Canadians trace their roots to British loyalists who left the United States following the War of Independence. These steady supporters of the Empire have built a nation whose history of peace and prosperity makes it the envy of the world. Today, however, Canada is in peril: the Canadian government is undermining the foundation of Canada’s tranquility by importing millions of Third World people. Because the two nations have such close links, Canada’s immigration problem is very much America’s business; any conflict there can easily spill over the border. The most severe cultural dislocations caused by immigration are occurring in Vancouver, a short cultural and geographical distance from Seattle, Washington.

Vancouver, British Columbia is one of Canada’s finest jewels. The sparkling city is set alongside the Pacific Ocean and the Fraser River, and residents can enjoy spectacular views of the Coast Mountains. While the climate in Vancouver is rainy, the moderating influence of the sea protects the city from the bitter cold typical of the rest of country. Year after year Vancouver ranks high on various lists of the world’s most livable cities. However, Vancouver also has a darker side. It is home to a substantial community of Sikhs, the city’s most troublesome minority. Not only are Sikhs responsible for a very disproportionate share of crime, but they are culturally incompatible with white Canadians and flex their political muscle in ways that harm white interests. Canada’s Sikhs also have a history of vicious terrorism.

The Sikhs are a religious sect originating in India that follows the teachings of the “Ten Gurus.” According to Sikh theology, the first guru, Nanak Dev, repudiated Hindu polytheism and called for his followers to worship one god. The Sikhs also abolished the Hindu caste system in favor of social equality, although some social stratification remains. Baptized Sikh men, called “Khalsa,” are required to leave their hair uncut and always wear a turban, a wooden comb, cotton undergarments, and a dagger, called a kirpan. The Sikhs originated India’s Punjab region, which has found itself in the middle of invasions and wars for thousands of years; consequently, the Ten Gurus guided their followers towards martial virtues. The name “Singh,” common among Sikhs, means “lion,” and baptized Sikhs have a duty to be soldiers for their faith, continuously prepare for a fight, and participate in armed conflict when called upon. When the British ruled India, the Sikhs were the backbone of the Raj Army.

In theory, anyone can become a Sikh, but the faith is essentially racially based. Sikhs are overwhelmingly Punjabi South Asians so the term Sikh can refer to a practicing but unbaptized adherent, a baptized, turban-wearing Khalsa, or a non-practicing ethnic Punjabi with a Sikh extended family. In Canada, Sikhs are often somewhat inexactly called Indo-Canadians, “Desis,” Punjabis, South Asians, or Indians.

The Empire’s Color Question

Since Canada was a part of the British Empire, and imperial policy theoretically allowed for a free movement of all people throughout the Empire, Canada and the other white dominions started to receive an influx of Indians at the turn of the 20th century. Indian migrants to Canada, who began arriving in 1907, were predominantly Sikhs,.

Indian immigration caused immediate and explosive racial conflicts in Canada, as well as many other parts of the empire. The worst conflict was in southern Africa’s Natal colony. Under the leadership of Gandhi, Natal’s Indian laborers participated in strikes and civil disobedience campaigns. There was even a 1913 “invasion” of the Transvaal by 4,000 striking Indians. As a result of this unrest, the white dominions in the British Empire enacted variants of the “Natal Formula,” or superficially non-discriminatory laws that were used specifically to keep out Indians and other non-whites. Australians required all potential immigrants to be fluent in a European language. Since the precise language was unspecified, immigration officers could give South Asians a test in Lithuanian or Finnish! Canadians kept out Indians by requiring all immigrants to take a direct journey from their country of origin. Since there were no direct routes from India and Canada, Indians could not immigrate. When Indian activists chartered a Sikh-filled ship, the Komagata Maru, to make a direct run in 1914, the Royal Canadian Navy towed the ship back out to sea after it had docked in Vancouver.

Despite such steps, Sikhs, wrongly called Hindus at the time, still gained a foothold in British Columbia. Madison Grant, author of the 1933 racialist book Conquest of a Continent, highlighted the province’s South Asian issues:

The province also has its Asiatic problem, which has been the source of hard feelings on several occasions… Some 6,000 Hindus likewise found their way there. Orientals now amount to one in every seven of the total population. There is a real Asiatic question here and the whites are beginning to look to the United States for protection.1
Vancouver sikhs 1924
Sikhs in Vancouver, 1924.

The Asiatic peril that Grant warned about was becalmed due to action by Ottawa. Canadian “Natal Formula” restrictions effectively kept out further non-white immigration, and after World War II British Columbia experienced a flood of white settlers from eastern Canada and Britain. As a result, the Sikhs were relegated to the status of a small, exotic minority, not much different than the Amerindians who also shared the area. To make sure things remained peaceful on the political front, Sikhs were prohibited from voting by law between 1908 and 1947.2

The peaceful balance collapsed in the 1960s. Canada succumbed to the self-destructive Zeitgeist that infected the rest of the Western world and eased immigration restrictions in 1967. The Sikhs began to pour in. Today, there are more than 130,000 Sikhs in British Columbia and nearly the same number spread through the rest of Canada.

Sikh Crime

Overall, Canada has been good to Sikh immigrants. Although they are not particularly prosperous relative to the rest of Canadians, they are not impoverished. Many Sikhs are employed as taxi-drivers and truckers. While most Sikhs just eke out a respectable living, some have achieved great prosperity. There is now a class of Sikh professionals who serve the needs of the community. The second largest lumber company in British Columbia, Doman Industries, is Sikh owned.3

Despite a respectable place on the social ladder, many young Sikh men turn to crime. Between 1991 and 2004, 76 young men in the Vancouver area have been killed in gang-related violence, and authorities think most of the crimes were committed by well-to-do young people of Indian descent. Upper class whites in British Colombia are, of course, barely on the radar when it comes to crime, but Sikhs do not follow the same trend. Sikh culture is steeped in confrontational, warrior values, and those values are imbibed by young men with their mother’s milk. “Eventually,” says Indo-Canadian Reporter Renu Bakshi, “a young boy will become a young man and step into a community that thrives on bravado—a world where everything is a grudge match, a fight to the finish.”

This warrior spirit has made Greater Vancouver first among Canada’s cities in gun violence. In 2008 Metro Vancouver’s gun crime rate was 45.3 per 100,000. By comparison, Toronto has a gun crime rate of 40.4 per 100,000, and the national average is 27.5. Crime is particularly bad in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver that is home to 76,000 Sikhs, 19 percent of the population. In fact, in 2006, Surrey had the highest overall crime rate of any Canadian city. (In 2008, Saskatoon beat out Surrey, possibly due to a spike in crime by American Indians.) The Canadian government goes to great length to not report crime rates by race, but ordinary Vancouverites know the score. Nearly two-thirds believe some ethnic groups are more responsible for crime than others, and Indo-Canadians and Asians are at the top of the list.

Sikhs are a major player in Vancouver’s organized gang problem. In 2005, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimated that Indo-Canadians gangs were one of top organized crime problems in British Columbia:

[Indo-Canadian organized crime] groups have typically been associated with street level drug trafficking, the wholesaling and transport of marihuana for export, and (as reported widely in the press) with high-profile violent conflict now having claimed between 80 and 90 lives in the past 15 years. It may be noted that the number of homicides associated to this gang violence is approaching the level of magnitude of the Quebec ‘Biker War’ of the 1990s.

The hierarchy of crime has changed little over the last three years, though both Asians and Sikhs are gaining on the Bikers.

One notorious Sikh criminal is the late Bindy Johal. In the 1990s this leader of the “Indo-Canadian Mafia” formed a “death squad” called “The Elite” that is believed to have committed up to thirty murders across Greater Vancouver. Johal’s mafia was involved in drug trafficking, stealing goods from truckers, car theft, and racketeering. After Johal was killed at a nightclub in 1998 by rivals, his criminal empire collapsed. However, like the mythical Hydra, Sikh crime grew new heads after Johal’s death. These Sikh groups, which have names like the “Brown Side Thugz,” the “Daku Killaz,” and the “Dosanjh Brothers,” specialize in the same types of crimes as Johal’s mafia did.

Organized crime in Vancouver carries considerable costs. In an open letter to city officials, British Columbia’s Solicitor General reported last April that the resources of the Province’s police could only target thirty percent of criminal gangs operating in the city. British Columbians and other Canadians will have to fund the cost of more effective law enforcement through higher taxes. Crimes impose additional costs on Canadians. The Vancouver Board of Trade reports that the cost of property crimes in the city was $125 million in 2005.

Another appalling Sikh criminal was Gurpreet Singh Sidhu, convicted of the violent rapes of two prostitutes in 2002. He was considered so dangerous that prison guards would not escort him to legally required appointments outside jail unless they were armed. A considerable row broke out when British Columbia officials realized that immigration services might not deport Mr. Sidhu after his release.

Sikh criminals usually shoot other Sikh gangsters, but there have been some cases of Sikh-on-white violence. In June 2008, three Desis attacked an openly gay white man in Vancouver’s gay district. The police officially categorized the attack as “random,” but the government spin regarding such crimes is losing its ability to deceive. One editorialist angrily quipped, “One Wonders if it were ‘Three white Guys’ assaulting a ‘Indo Gay Man’ how fast the Wheels of Justice would turn in a ‘Vengeance and Spend every last Taxpayer Cent’ in finding these Three Offenders.”

kimveer gill
Kimveer Gill.

In an even more horrific incident, Sikh Kimveer Gill went on a shooting rampage in Montreal’s Dawson College in 2006. He injured 19 and killed one before turning the gun on himself.

White Canadians may have reason to fear further attacks as anti-white hatred appears to be common among Sikhs. One Surrey Sikh blogger has written: “I’m all for some arrogant racist white guy getting put in check for making a racist comment to a Desi… It’s empowering to be a Desi thug, to have these assholes who look down on us, to fear us. It’s good in a way, for us to unite and look out for each other.”

Canadian Police appear reluctant to control violence in the Sikh community. The family of slain Sikh journalist Tara Singh Hayer has yet to find justice. At a November 2008 remembrance ceremony, Hayer’s son Dave stated that police knew who the killers were, but they would not press charges. Hayer said that he has been approached by Sikhs who rightly wonder if they will be protected from harm if they step forward with information about crimes in their community.

It is likely that Sikh crime will continue or even grow worse. It is young, unmarried Sikh men who commit the most violence, and Canadian Sikhs are using modern pre-natal technology to detect female fetuses in order to abort them. In Sikh culture, births of girls are mourned while new boys are celebrated. As a result, the sex ratio is becoming skewed so that there are many restless young unmarried Sikh men. Besides, Sikhs are reluctant to collaborate with law enforcement. Mr. Bakshi has noted “the ‘conspiracy of silence’ Sikhs use to protect their sons at the expense of solving murder investigations.”

Political and Cultural Clashes

Other races in Canada, such as Toronto’s blacks, have higher rates of crime. However, Sikhs are much more troublesome and dangerous to whites because they have gained great political leverage. Sikhs have entered the British Columbian political scene at several levels, and, unlike Canadian whites, they keep their eyes on their own interests. By the late 1980s, Sikhs had gained so much clout that white politicians were starting to pander on an astonishing scale. Even after Sikh gang crime and terrorism started to make the front pages, white politicians would still shout, “The Khalsa belongs to God, victory belongs to God!” in Punjabi at Greater Vancouver’s Sikh Temples.4 Canadian politicians bowed to Sikh interests in 1987 by supporting asylum for a boatload of Sikh refugees that had landed in Nova Scotia. Many of these refugees had ties to terrorist activities in India.

Ujjal Singh Dosanjh
Ujjal Singh Dosanjh.

If they understood their own interests, white Canadian politicians would pound the table for immigration restriction. As has happened elsewhere, no matter how much white politicians scrape and grovel to non-whites, they are replaced as soon as minorities can muster the votes. In the British Columbian Legislative Assembly, seven Sikhs hold power in a house of seventy-nine. A Sikh named Ujjal Singh Dosanjh actually served as British Columbia premier (the Canadian equivalent of governor) from 2000 to 2001. By delivering block votes at the local level, Sikhs have become very influential in the Liberal Party. In fact Sikhs have make up about fifteen percent of the Liberal Party delegates. There are currently nine Sikh members of Canada’s parliament.

Sikhs use the bulk of their political power to influence Canadian immigration policy. In a recent case, a paralyzed and fraudulent refugee claimant, Laibar Singh, evaded standing deportation orders for more than a year due to public outcry by Sikhs. One thousand demonstrators blocked officials from putting Mr. Singh on a homeward bound plane in December 2007. Despite the illegality of this act, no demonstrators were arrested. Sikh’s increasing organization and political clout was manifested in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s groveling apology for the 1914 towing of the Komagata Maru.

laibar singh demonstrators
Sikhs demonstrate for Laibar Singh.

Sikhs also attempt to silence criticism of their behavior. In 2007, Sikh activists, along with Asian Liberal Party MP, Raymond Chan, tried to get radio host Bruce Allen kicked off of an Olympic planning committee after he criticized Sikhs for their unwillingness to assimilate into Canadian society. Sukhpreet Singh Heir stated, “We don’t believe that in today’s society these remarks should be tolerated.” Fortunately, Mr. Allen held his ground and the complaint went nowhere.

Other cultural conflicts between Sikhs and white Canadians are also evident. For example, recent quarrels over building permits have a racial dimension. Whites in Surrey object to Sikhs’ practice of buying up older, modest homes so that they can demolish them and build a “monster houses.” At issue is more than a clash in taste. The Sikhs often turn the houses into illegal “mini-hotels,” resulting in neighborhood overcrowding. Likewise, Sikhs wear their traditional kirpan daggers in places where such items are inappropriate, including public schools. This conflict between public safety and Third World religious expression has resulted in court cases where Canada’s tyrannical multiculturalism favors the Sikhs. In Quebec, a school ban on weapons was overturned when Sikh activists sued to wear a dagger in school. After the case, a Sikh boy threatened a fellow student with a kirpan.

Terrorism, Past and Future

Disturbing though this catalog of Sikh misbehavior may have been, we have not yet even touched on Canadian Sikhs’ worst offense: the bombing of Air India flight 182 at an altitude of 31,000 feet just off the coast of Ireland. Sikh terrorists also targeted another Air India flight the same day, but killed only two baggage handlers at the Tokyo airport.

Air India flight 182 wreckage
Wreckage from Air India flight 182.

The prosecution of the bombings was a saddening illustration of Canada’s inability to control immigrant crime. Only one member of the ring responsible for the bombings, Canadian Sikh Inderjit Singh Reyat, was sentenced in the case, and he got only ten years for manslaughter.

The bombings, which targeted Indian Hindus, took place in the context of Sikh agitation for an independent, Sikh nation-state called Khalistan, which was opposed by the Hindu-dominated Indian government. In 1984, Sikh bodyguards had assassinated Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1986, Sikh separatists would take over the Sikh’s holy Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, which was then taken back by the Indian Army in a bloody, tank-gunfire supported attack. Eventually, a combination of tough measures and compromises caused the insurgency to quiet down by 1993.

Air India flight 182 was torn to shreds, causing the deaths of three hundred and twenty-nine people. British fishermen, Royal Air Force helicopters, and Irish Navy ships were immediately on the scene to search for survivors. What they found instead were dead bodies. One fisherman pulled in a victim whose face was frozen in a death-mask of fear. Other bodies were difficult to pull on board because their bones where shattered and the fishermen couldn’t get a solid grip. An Irish doctor, examining the deceased on shore, found that the spinal column of a nine year old girl was heavily smashed. The skull was fractured and the bones were completely dislocated. The girl’s injuries were caused during the fall. When a human body falls from a great height it flails uncontrollably, like an autumn leaf.5

Despite the fact that the bombing took place on a foreign airplane over international airspace, the responsibility for punishing the perpetrators of this horrific act fell to Canadian law enforcement. It was plain that the criminals were Canadians: the bomb was manufactured in British Columbia, and it was loaded on the planes from a check-in desk in Vancouver. Besides, most of the victims were Hindus who had legal Canadian residency.

Talwinder Singh Parmar
Talwinder Singh Parmar.

The Canadian justice system proved entirely unable to cope with the case, as Sikh criminals posed novel challenges to Canadian law enforcement. Policemen shadowing leaders of Babbar Khalsa, the Sikh terrorist group responsible for the bombings, found it difficult to keep track of the suspects because they all looked alike with their traditional Sikh beards and turbans. These similarities in appearance also enabled the terrorists to elude police and border agents by swapping passports. With the authorities confused, traveling terrorists couldn’t be tracked across borders. Additionally, Punjabi translators were not available to law enforcement. Much else went wrong with the case as well. Wiretapped tapes containing vital evidence were destroyed. A crucial source of evidence disappeared when the suspected bombing mastermind, Babbar Khalsa leader Talwinder Singh Parmar, was killed in Punjab by Indian Police.

After the main suspect’s death, the case went cold for more than ten years. Eventually, the remaining living suspects were brought to trial. The two main defendants were Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri. In March 2005, Justice Ian Bruce Josephson of the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the suspects were not guilty due to reasonable doubt. This decision was not unjustified. The Sikhs had superb defense attorneys, and the evidence had been collected haphazardly and had decayed over time. In 2008 the Canadian government issued an apology to the families of the Air India victims for failing to solve the case.

There is little doubt that Canada’s multicultural policies made prosecution of the case more difficult. As Brian Fawcett of the Vancouver Review reported:

What we really need is an inquiry to figure out why and when our criminal justice system isn’t able to uphold the Rule of Law, and to decipher the interactions between that failure and a system of multicultural compensations and bonuses. It’s a system that gives advantage to immigrant and visible-minority perpetrators of crime, allowing them to ignore and, when it serves their advantage, to manipulate the codes of egalitarian civility upon which democracy is grounded. It is within those interactions that the plan to bomb the planes was hatched and the bombs delivered, and it was because of those interactions that the perpetrators got away with killing more than 300 innocent people.

After the Air India bombing, Sikh terrorists continued to act brazenly. On Vancouver Island in 1986, Canadian Sikh gunmen nearly killed a visiting Indian politician in an ambush along a logging road near Gold River. This time the police managed to capture the terrorists. There was only one road leading away from the ambush site so the police simply set up road blocks and nabbed the escaping criminals, who were all members of the International Sikh Youth Federation. Even today there are death threats on reporters and other acts of intimidation. These actions usually go unpunished. One reporter, Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun, who wrote a book on the Air India bombings, is routinely threatened. And Sikh internet chat rooms are filled with anti-Bolan tirades.

Today, the Sikh separatist movement that sparked the Air India bombing has died down, but the fundamental conflict is unresolved and continues to smolder. The Khalistan movement’s leadership is still around and pro-independence sentiment can be found on the Internet. Indeed, the militancy of the Sikh diaspora in Canada could be the spark that sets off ethnic violence again. In 2007, India lodged a formal diplomatic protest in Canada after a parade in Surrey featured a float portraying slain Babbar Khalsa leader Talwinder Singh Parmar as a “Sikh martyr.” In 2008, the Indian high commission in Ottawa expressed concern about Sikh separatist activism in Canada. If tensions in India pick up again, Vancouver may be a battleground.

Canada has invited this trouble through its naive multi-racialist immigration policy, and despite increasingly visible problems, Canada continues to allow 250,000 immigrants per year into a country of only 30 million. Reform seems far off.

Canada’s problem with its Sikh minority should be of concern to Americans not just because Vancouver borders on the US, but for the broader lessons this story of ethnic conflict teaches. When a country imports an alien population, it often brings in all of the conflicts that bedeviled the immigrants in their homelands. Consequently, Western nations can get dragged into intractable conflicts that would otherwise be none of their business. Moreover, differences between the immigrant and host populations are likely to prove disruptive, even disastrous. Differences in history and culture pose difficulties enough, but most divisive are differences in nature. As long as we continue to ignore the possibility that there are biological differences among races that cause them to create different types of societies, we run the risk of importing populations that are prone to poverty and crime and hostile to white people and their values.

Duncan Hengest, a pen name, can be e-mailed at d.hengest at yahoo dot com. Mr. Hengest thanks Gaurav Ahuja for his assistance with this article.

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