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Monday, October 31, 2005

"Bay Area Sikhs protest French ban on turbans in schools"

According to the Associated Press, about 100 "Sikhs in the San Francisco Bay area protested the French government's ban on the wearing of turbans and other religious symbols in public schools as French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte visited the city."

The law against the wearing of conspicuous articles of faith in public schools, which was meant to address Muslim fundamentalism, is fairly broad: its reach extends not only to hijabs, the traditional Muslim headscarf, and Sikh turbans, but also to crucifixes and yarmulkes.

Indeed, the law has been enforced against Sikhs: "Three turban-wearing teenagers were expelled from a high school in the Paris suburb of Bobigny last year...."

One of the protesters, Kulwant Singh, noted: "I'm here to protect my right to wear a turban not only in France, but everywhere in the world.... It's not only cultural, it's religious: part of our body."

Another argued, "Sikhs fought for the freedom of France.... We did not wear helmets. We wore turbans. They did not have a problem then."

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