Abusive letters won’t stop Ilford Sikh shopkeeper from displaying England flags during the Football World Cup
PUBLISHED: 10:30 24 June 2018
A Sikh shop owner said hate mail will not stop him from flying the St George flag outside his business to cheer England on in the football World Cup.
The defiant manager of GMS Heating & Plumbing Spares, Ilford Lane, was shocked to receive abusive letters saying that as an Indian he should not be showing support for the three lions.
The author of the anonymous, handwritten, notes asked if the owner had forgotten his skin colour and his motherland, after he adorned the front of his shop with patriotic banners on Thursday, June 21.
He wrote that the manager should be flying a different flag and said if the National Front saw his display they would “kick you back to India without your trousers on.”
The heating and plumbing professional said he has shown support for England in the world cup for the last 20 years and the notes gave him the impetus to stick up even more.
“We are a family business that my father started over 30 years ago,” he said.
“He has lived in this country for around 40 years and we love this country otherwise we wouldn’t be here.
“Supporting England during the football is enjoyable and all part of the fun - and some people seem to think it is wrong for us to do because we are Indian?”
The shop manager claims another business on the same street has also received abusive notes for putting up England flags.
While the correspondence will not stop him, he said it has put a bit of a downer on the World Cup festivities.
“It is shocking how backward minded people think that by supporting the country you live in you will be dishonouring our religion or insulting India,” he added.
“These are the wrong people, not the ones who enjoy being part of the English culture.”
David Landau, senior caseworker at the charity Redbridge Equalities and Community Council said abuse in any form should not be tolerated and needs to be reported.
“This is a rather unusual situation but abuse is abuse and if someone is abused for putting up England flags this is wrong,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be happening and racism needs to be condemned.”