Monday, 23 May 2011

Sikh community to renovate damaged Baghdad gurdwara

After restoration of Gurdwara's of Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Sikh community have now taken up the task of renovation of 15th century Gurdwara of Guru Nanak Dev which suffered damage in 2003 American invasion on Iraq.

Chairman of International Sikh Council Mukhtiar Singh Assal who is also a known friend of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussain told TOI on Sunday that embassy of Iraq had invited him to visit the Gurdwara and take and take first hand account of the gurdwara condition before taking up its restoration work. He was here to pay obeisance at Golden Temple before leading a delegation of Sikhs to Baghdad.

The Gurdwara was founded by Mohammad Pasha Amoot follower of Peer Bakol at the time of visit of Guru Nanak's visit to Baghdad where Guru Nanak Dev had arrived on way back from Mecca and Madina.

Quoting his meeting with Saddam Hussain in Baghdad in January 1990 Assal said "Saddam had deep respect for Sikh Guru's and knew Sikh Guru's philosophy of universal peace and brotherhood". He said when he took up the issue of Baghdad Gurdwara with Saddam, he (Saddam) immediately ordered for the opening of Gurdwara .

He said the invitation of Iraq government for the restoration of Gurdwaa was a matter of great significance for Sikhs. "Here in India, with our own government not a single brick could be laid for the construction of temple and we have got invitation from Iraq government which is a matter of pride for Sikhs" said he.

Meanwhile Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar said the committee had also written to Iraq government and had sought appointment to discuss over the issue of renovation of damaged Gurdwara in Baghdad. He said SGPC would extend cooperation to anyone performing sewa in the Baghdad Gurdwara.

Head Granthi of Golden Temple Giani Jaswinder Singh performed ardas for chardi kala (high esteem) of the delegation.

Yudhvir Rana, May 22, 2011, Times of India

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