"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Neo-Nazi turned anti-racism campaigner honoured at Surrey-Delta Gurdwara Featured

 

A former white supremacist and an author, Tony McAleer was presented with a plaque for standing up against bigotry by the Sikh community on Saturday, September 26.  

He was honoured at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, the exact place where Nirmal Singh Gill was murdered by skinheads in January 1998.  

Gill was the temple caretaker when the incident happened. He was trying to stop the Neo-Nazis who were vandalizing cars at the gurdwara parking lot when he was violently assaulted.  

Although McAleer was not involved in the incident, he has taken moral responsibility for the crime. He has repeatedly said that he can’t claim “zero percent” responsibility, as his hateful propaganda back then must have been a contributing factor.   

As a changed man, McAleer started the initiative Life After Hate, and has been encouraging young people to stay away from the racist ideology.  

His memoir The Cure for Hate: A Former White Supremacist's Journey from Violent Extremism to Radical Compassion,  delivers  startling revelations about his previous life as a white supremacist who hated Jews, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. 

The story of his life’s journey as a youthful neo-Nazi who once believed that whites were an endangered species helps readers understand where hate comes from. The book also reveals how hate is exploited by white nationalists to rope in impressionable teenagers to be mobilized against minorities. 

Ironically, a Jewish psychologist helped inspire McAleer to abandon his racist ideology. 

McAleer’s book reveals that Gill also tried to resist the attempt of the attackers to steal his iron bracelet, which all practising Sikhs wear as an article of faith.  

At the time of the book launch, he had announced that he wants part of the proceedings from the sale of his book to go to the gurdwara to help the temple keep Gill’s legacy alive. Those who want to be a part of this initiative can order it online through Arsenal Pulp Press—publisher of the memoir—by typing in the code “nirmal”.  

On Sunday, he presented the cheque to the gurdwara where the portrait of Gill will soon be reinstalled.  

While addressing the congregation he said, “I am here to stand with you and not against you”.  The Gurdwara General Secretary Bhupinder Singh Hothi thanked him on behalf of the community on the occasion. 

Notably, a racist poster had appeared close to the temple premises early this year. McAleer took notice of the incident and had cautioned everyone to remain vigilant against growing hate in the post-Trump political environment. 

Last year, the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara held special prayers for those who were killed in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 50 people died in the crime committed by a white supremacist. 

 

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