Sikhs Ask for Exemption from Ban on Religious Symbols

January 9, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News

On January 9, 2004 Yahoo! News posted a Reuters article that reported, "France's Sikhs, recalling their ancestors died for this country with their turbans on, urged President Jacques Chirac on Friday to exempt them from a planned law banning religious symbols from public schools. Chain Singh, spokesman for the community, wrote to Chirac that Sikhs in Britain, Canada and the United States had been granted exemptions to work in the police and the military with their trademark turbans 'without any problems'. 'We invite the French government to grant the same freedom to Sikhs in this country so the Sikh religion can be properly respected and protected,' he said. Singh said including Sikh turbans in the planned law, which bans all religious symbols in a move mostly aimed at stopping Muslim schoolgirls from wearing Islamic headscarves, would mean a setback in the community's relations with the French."