Tory mayor Andy Street thanks Sikhs for letting him visit their ‘mosque’ and gets roasted

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Monday 29 April 2019 16:15
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Picture:(AFP/Getty Images/Twitter)

Birmingham mayor Andy Street is facing a backlash for thanking a group of Sikh worshippers for letting him visit their “mosque”.

The Conservative politician and former managing director of John Lewis made the gaffe at an event for Vaisakhi, a Sikh religious festival.

For anyone who needs to brush up on their GCSE religious education - a mosque is where Muslims worship, while Sikhs go to a Gurdwara.

When the video started getting some attention, Street apologised for the mistake and claimed he had “muddled” his words.

He wrote:

Vaisakhi in Birmingham and Smethwick was yet again an amazing experience. All places of worship and festivals of all religions should be respected. I'm sorry I muddled my words.

I hope no offence was caused, particularly as the Guru Nanak Gurdwara has always offered me a characteristic warm welcome.

That apology wasn’t enough to stop him being ridiculed for the error.

Some people picked up on his dodgy pronunciation of Nagar Kirtan.

And others pointed out how disrespectful the mistake was, even if it was done by accident.

You would never expect a politician to mix up a synagogue and a church so why should it be any different for Sikhs?

There are actually more Sikhs in the UK than Jewish people, according to the 2011 Census.

However, some people came to Street’s defence.

One of them was Tory MP Michael Fabricant, who compared the gaffe to when David Cameron forgot he supported Aston Villa and when Jeremy Hunt forgot his wife was Chinese

It’s probably not a good idea by Fabricant to remind people of more ridiculous gaffes by his party...

Some Sikhs were more sympathetic towards Street's mistake.

Next time Street goes to visit a place of worship, he’ll probably want to be extra careful with what he says.

More: How Sikhs face discrimination and get mistaken for Muslims

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