British Sikh Police Criticise Irish Ban on Turbans

August 26, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Indo-Asian News Service

Sikh police officers from Britain have criticised a decision by the Irish police force to ban a Sikh recruit from wearing a turban on the job, according to reports in the Irish press on Tuesday.

The Sikh Association of London's Metropolitan Police, which has allowed Sikhs to wear official police turbans since the 1970s, said An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force) was engaging in "racial discrimination," The Irish Times reported.

Ireland's police decided to ban the wearing of turban last week, saying all police officers must wear standard uniforms.

An Garda Siochana was "40 years behind the Metropolitan Police Service and the other civilized countries that recognize that Sikhs need to wear their turban as part of their religion whilst officiating in public roles," the report quoted the Sikh Association as saying.

The association called for reversing the decision. Until then the Irish Sikh community would have no confidence in their police force, it said.

The Irish Sikh Council has already criticized the decision.