Sikhs go to European court to battle French ban on turbans in ID photos

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Sikhs asked Europe’s human rights court Monday to support their call for the right to wear turbans in ID photos in France.

France’s highest administrative court has ruled that for public security reasons, Sikhs must remove their turbans when photographed for driver’s licenses. France has also banned wearing conspicuous religious apparel in schools.

Shingara Mann Singh, a 52-year-old French national, was twice refused a replacement driver’s license unless he removes his turban for the photo. On his original license, which he said was stolen from him, he was pictured with the turban.

”I will give up my head but not my turban, which covers my unshorn hair,” Singh said.

The complaint was filed with the Strasbourg, France-based European Court of Human Rights on his behalf by the United Sikhs organization.

Sikhs are required by their religion to have their hair covered at all times by a turban.

”Sikhs wear their turbans throughout the day, when driving and when at work. Asking them to remove their turbans for a photo ID is absurd and shows an absolute lack of respect and sensitivity,” said Neena Gill, a British member of the European Parliament.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
AP, via the Chicago Sun-Times, USA
June 16, 2007
www.suntimes.com

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This post was last updated: Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 3:39 PM, Central European Time (CET)