UnitedSikhs

SGPC asks PM to Approach France on Turban Issue
March 24, 2006
 

Amritsar : The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the body that controls the management of Sikh gurdwaras and serves as the spiritual and temporal seat of the Sikh community....

SGPC asks PM to approach France on turban issue

Amritsar: The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the body that controls the management of Sikh gurdwaras and serves as the spiritual and temporal seat of the Sikh community, today appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to approach the Government of France and convince it not ban the wearing of turbans.

Presenting a memorandum to Dr. Singh, the SGPC President Avtar Singh Makal said that necessary steps should be taken to remove ''misconceptions and misunderstandings'' against Sikhs the world over, especially in France and the United States.

Avtar Singh said that the Sikhs have their own distinct identity and due recognition should be given to their religious symbols.

He also pointed out that that in France ; students of the Sikh community have been shown the door for wearing turbans and carrying 'kirpans' (small swords).

The memorandum referred to the ban imposed by the French government barring display of any religious symbol or attires in public, including schools.

A law banning Islamic headscarves and other religious symbols from French state schools came into effect in September 2004. Schools have been told not to automatically exclude pupils who arrive wearing headscarves, but to try and avert a showdown through dialogue.

A number of Sikh boys were expelled from schools in France last year for refusing to remove their turbans after a law came into force, which banned students from wearing conspicuous religious symbols.

The ban is designed to maintain France 's tradition of strictly separating state and religion. It forbids state school students from wearing "conspicuous" religious apparel. Jewish skullcaps, Sikh turbans and large Christian crosses are also banned.

French Sikhs had earlier this month appealed to President Jacques Chirac over a ruling that they must remove their turbans for driver's license photographs. The French branch of United Sikhs argues the ruling makes its small community of several thousand in France the victims of "indirect discrimination".

The SPGC also demanded the management of the bus service from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib, to be launched by the Prime Minster, be handed over to it.

The SGPC also said that since the bus had been launched exclusively for pilgrimage at the Golden Temple and Nankana Sahib on demand of the Sikh community, instead of the government or its agency, the management of the service should be entrusted upon the committee.
Article by Courtesy of http://www.newkerala.com
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