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2007-05-28
Europe
Followers of the Sikh religion complain of rising discrimination
Around 200 Sikhs from across Europe have met a British member of the European Parliament to discuss problems faced by their community in Europe. The group met Neena Gill here last week and aired their grievances about growing racial discrimination and harassment linked with their appearance and identity in different European countries.

In France, Sikhs are being asked to remove the turbans for driving licence photographs. A French law banning the Sikh turban, along with other religious articles of faith, in schools is already in place since March 2004.

At several European airports, immigration officials ask Sikhs to remove their turbans for identification, reported New Europe, a weekly European magazine.

In countries like Belgium and Germany, Sikhs are being refused administrative jobs if they insist on wearing turbans, and in Italy, the Sikh community is facing problems in establishing gurdwaras.

In the European Parliament, Sikhs are not allowed entry for security concerns if they carry the Kirpan (a ceremonial dagger), an essential article of faith for all practising Sikhs.

Gill promised the delegation that she would follow up on the issues raised by them.

She said there was ignorance about the Sikh faith in Europe and proposed to hold an exhibition later this year to raise awareness about Sikhs and the Sikh way of life.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service (IANS)© 2007 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi.
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