Man's Religious Symbol Prevents Entry

June 2, 2007

Author: Megan Reynolds

Source: Your Local Guardian

A VICTORY for the religious faithful has been won by a Sikh man who was refused entry to passport offices while wearing the holy Kirpan.

Tarsem Singh, 27, always wears the Kirpan, a symbollic three inch dagger, as it is one of the five K's which he is required to wear as an initiated Sikh, and he was offended by the way he was treated when he went to the Identity and Passport Service buildings in London Victoria to change his passport picture.

He said he was humiliated by security guards who perceived him as a threat and insisted he could not enter the building without removing the dagger.

He said: "I felt like they were talking down to me and didn't look at me as a British citizen even though I was born here. It made me feel very small and it was really disheartening.

"Before I became seriously religious, people saw me as more a part of the community, but now because I was wearing a turban people looked at me as if I am a part of Al-Qaeda and that is a horrible experience."