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Monday, September 12, 2005

Belgium Bans Turbans in Schools (Updated)

France is not the only state that has banned turbans from being worn in public schools. Belgium has reportedly followed suit by banning "the religious symbols of the Sikhs in their educational institutes."

Meanwhile, a proposal in Australia "to ban Muslim girls from wearing traditional headscarves in state schools has been rejected by Prime Minister John Howard and all the main political parties in Victoria." PM Howard was quoted as saying that, "If you ban a headscarf you might, for consistency's sake, have to ban a … turban." An official in opposition to the proposal said, "We're at war with terror, not young girls wearing scarves or (people wearing) crucifixes or skull caps." A member of parliament also noted, "I'm delighted that we are living in a country where religious tolerance is part of our creed and I don't think there's any enthusiasm for the views of Mrs Bishop or Ms Panopoulos on this matter in the Coalition party room."

UPDATE: Two Sikh students in France have violated the ban on conspicuous articles of faith in public schools, one has been excluded and the another has been "forced to wear a small cloth instead."

Gurinder Singh, 17, was barred from class in a Paris suburb because he refused to remove the keski, or under-turban, that his school let him wear last year, said Kudrat Singh of the United Sikhs pressure group.

Hardeep Singh, 13, was only allowed into class when he agreed to wear a small cloth over the top-knot of his uncut hair.

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