Sir Simon McDonald, the permanent under-secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), UK, was recently in India for the birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth II, that was organized in Chandigarh by the British Deputy High Commissioner in India. On the occasion, Simon McDonald gifted the Queen’s picture from her Golden Temple visit in 1997 to British High Commission as a permanent memento.
Simon McDonald tweeted a picture of the event but referred Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of Sikhs, as Golden Mosque. Take a look at his tweet below:
At QBP in Chandigarh @SinghLions presented @DHCAndrewAyre with picture of HM The Queen at Golden Mosque in Amritsar in 1997, a permanent memento for Deputy High Commission’s wall @UKinIndia pic.twitter.com/GFkBT0GcRU
— Sir Simon McDonald (@SMcDonaldFCO) April 23, 2018
This invited huge criticism on Twitter, particularly from the Sikh community. Twitterati blasted the British diplomat for his lack of information about the world-renowned Sikh shrine Golden Temple, formally known as Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Some Twitter users even said that he did this intentionally while others took a dig at his misinformation about India, considering the fact that the British ruled our country for more than a hundred years. Take a look at a few responses to his tweet:
This is definitely intentional…
— Manveer Grewal (@MVGrewal) April 24, 2018
The British Empire ruled India for 200 years and still don’t know the difference between a Mosque and a Gurdwara.
It’s very disappointing and disrespectful.
Next time before you go to India please do your research or ask @everythings_13 for some Religious Education. Okay!
— Gagan Singh (@KhaalsaRaj) April 24, 2018
Dear @SMcDonaldFCO – religious literacy lesson no 1) It’s not a “Golden” anything – #Sikhs refer to #HarmandirSahib as #HarmandirSahib aka #DarbarSahib as #DarbarSahib … and it’s a #Gurdwara (House of the Guru) …
— Jasjit Singh (@DrJasjitSingh) April 23, 2018
Wow. The ignorance is astounding, especially from someone who works in the Foreign Office. Seems like those @Cambridge_Uni degrees don’t teach the basics. I hope you at least raised the case of #JagtarSinghJohal ….
— thetravellingsingh (@travellingsingh) April 24, 2018
16 HOURS after he called Amritsar’s Darbar Sahib a “mosque”, @foreignoffice Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Simon McDonald still has not deleted his tweet. This is @ukip_sththanet-level stupidity, so here is a #ThingsThatAreNotMosques tweet to help him. https://t.co/gOMRi42XnH
— Hugh Jaeger (@HughJaeger) April 24, 2018
Sikh Federation UK had demanded an apology from Simon McDonald within 24 hours and also tagged British Prime Minister in their tweet. Check out their tweet below:
Full written apology required in 24 hours pic.twitter.com/rnlKRXfCkA
— Sikh Federation UK (@SikhFedUK) April 23, 2018
Following a huge backlash on Twitter, the UK diplomat apologized for his gaffe and corrected his mistake in a tweet. His apologetic tweet can be seen below:
I was wrong: I am sorry. I should of course have said the Golden Temple or, better, Sri Harmandir Sahib. https://t.co/4rJ4mwOdCJ
— Sir Simon McDonald (@SMcDonaldFCO) April 24, 2018
Do take a look at how Twitterati reacted to his apology:
— Navrup Kaur (@navrupkaur) April 24, 2018
Good you’ve admitted you were wrong & apologised within 24 hours as requested. Head of @foreignoffice shouldn’t have made fundamental mistake & upset so many Sikhs & non-Sikhs about Sri Harmandir Sahib. @HeadUKCivServ used term in 2014 cover up for @David_Cameron @WilliamJHague
— Sikh Federation UK (@SikhFedUK) April 24, 2018
Your tweet showed how much your govt even bothers about other communities let alone respect them or work for them
— NoToSilence (@akdwaaz) April 24, 2018
Embarrassing Knight of the Realm! Head of the Diplomatic core! Cambridge educated! Next you’ll be confusing Mecca with The Vatican
— Arun Singh (@ArunSAhluwalia) April 24, 2018
Apology accepted. Do better research next time. Considering the ‘lofty’ position you hold, this was very very poor on your part
— J G Clay (@JGClay1) April 24, 2018
Twitter indeed did a good job this time! Don’t you think so? Share your views with us in comments!