EU Parliament Accused of Banning Dagger-Wearing Sikhs

November 11, 2008

Author: Martin Banks

Source: The Parliament

Parliament bosses have been blasted for their “outrageous ban” on refusing Sikhs access to the assembly’s building.

UK ALDE deputy Liz Lynne invited a delegation of Sikhs to parliament on Monday as part of the launch of a new interest group.

But she said the parliamentary authorities had ruled the Kirpan dagger worn by some of them to be a security threat and denied the Sikhs entry.

She said, “This is the third time that leading Sikhs have been denied entry to the parliament due to them wearing the ceremonial Kirpan dagger. The Kirpan is seen as an article of faith by the Sikh religion, and not as a weapon.”

Lynne, who is a member of parliament’s subcommittee on human rights and has campaigned on a variety of Sikh issues, said that it was “outrageous” that parliament was “discriminating against the Sikh community in this way”.

“This new parliamentary group is intended to look in particular at how Sikhs are treated within Europe. Unfortunately, it would seem that we do not have to go very far to find examples of the discrimination that many Sikhs face everyday.

“I am deeply disappointed that the European parliamentary authorities refuse to recognise the right of Sikh people to wear the Kirpan. The Kirpan is not a weapon, it is a religious symbol. This is not a question of security but one of religious freedom.