Sikhs Request Exemption from Proposed Ban of Religious Symbols

January 3, 2004

Source: The Washington Post

On January 3, 2004 The Washington Post reported, "France's tiny Sikh community is seeking help from India's Hindu prime minister to have Sikhs' traditional turbans exempted from a planned French law to ban Muslim head scarves and other religious symbols from schools. Chain Singh, spokesman for about 5,000 Sikhs, said he was contacting Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Chief Minister Amrinder Singh of Punjab state, the home of Sikhism, to ask them to urge the French government to exempt turbans. 'This law will not just be against Muslims, it will be against Sikhs as well,' he said. 'We cannot live without our turbans. This is our religion. If we cannot wear them, we may not be able to stay here'...The Sikh community in France is tiny compared with the 5 million Muslims and 600,000 Jews in this traditionally Christian country of 60 million."