An arsonist set fire to London's Gurdwara Sikh Sangat on Tuesday, but it was the fate of the scriptures in the building that drew the emphatic attention of the Sikh and Indian press.
World Sikh News led it's story with: "As flames leapt and smoke billowed out, Sikh hearts cried at the thought of holy scriptures of Sri Guru Granth Sahib getting burnt inside this most famous of the London gurdwaras." It noted in the fourth paragraph that "The blaze, which caused the gurdwara’s roof to collapse, also engulfed all but one of the eight holy books it had housed" and quoted an onlooker: “It is like one of my gods is burning down—we worship our holy books as steps to God.”
Sify News also highlighted the scriptures in its lead: "One of London's most important gurdwara, housing priceless religious books, has been gutted in a suspected racist attack in Britain, a news report said on Tuesday."
Sindh Today included more information: "Singh said the women managed to save just one of the temple’s eight holy books before the flames took hold. 'I cannot describe how important those holy books were to the Sikh community,' he added."
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)