Sikhs To Take French Turban Law To European Rights Court

Expatica, June 10, 2007

Sikhs said Sunday they were taking to the European Court of Human Rights French rules banning them from wearing their turbans when photographed for identity cards.

A law passed in March 2004 bans the wearing of conspicuous religious signs and covers both schools and identity photos.

The United Sikhs association said it was referring to the European Court of Human Rights Monday the case of Shingara Mann Singh, 52, a shopkeeper, to whom the authorities have refused to issue a driving licence if he is pictured with a turban.

In December 2006 France’s highest administrative body, the Council of State, turned down his request that a transport ministry circular requiring bare heads on driving licence photos for security reasons be declared void.

“Sikhs never cut their hair and always cover it with a turban, to the point where the turban, an article of faith laid down by their religion, is an integral part of their cultural and ethnic identity.” said Kudrat Singh, a leader of the French branch of the United Sikhs association.

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