D I S C R I M I N A T I O N    &    N A T I O N A L    S E C U R I T Y    I N I T I A T I V E    --    B L O G
  DNSI Home - http://pluralism.org/affiliates/kaur_sidhu/
  Pluralism Project - http://www.pluralism.org
  Harvard University - http://www.harvard.edu

Friday, November 18, 2005

Joint Press Release from the Sikh Coalition and the Office of Council Member David Weprin (NY)

City Hall (November 17, 2005) – Council Member David I. Weprin (D-Hollis) [pictured], Chair of the Council Finance Committee, hosted a press conference today with the Sikh Coalition and many other organizations. The press conference took place prior to the first hearing on Int. 577, the Uniformed Agency Anti-Discrimination bill.

The bill, drafted by the Sikh Coalition , seeks to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to precluding all uniformed city agencies from mandating that their employees comply with a uniform code that would require such person to violate or forego a practice of his or her creed or religion.

Employee uniform policies have been a source of debate in New York City government agencies. Two Sikh New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officers were fired in 2001 by the NYPD because they refused to remove their religiously-mandated turbans. The New York City Transit Authority (“TA”) presently requires its Sikh and Muslim employees to brand their religious headdress with the Transit Authority’s corporate logo in order to maintain their current employment titles. The TA had initially demanded that its Sikh and Muslim employees remove their religious headdress entirely.

In addition to the Sikh Coalition, the following is a sampling of organizations that support Int. 577 and attended the press conference: American Jewish Committee, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, New York Disaster Interfaith Services, Anti-Defamation League of New York, New York Immigration Coalition, Coney Island Avenue Project, South Asian Bar Association of New York, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Arab American Association, Association of Muslim American Lawyers, The Anti-Defamation League, Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Gurdwara, Sikh Cultural Society.

At the hearing following the press conference, the TA employees who were victims of religious discrimination, led Council Member David Weprin and the Sikh Coalition, testified that they worked for decades without being required to wear a TA logo on their religious headdress. A United States Department of Justice study during February 2005 found that TA workers regularly wear Yankees and Mets caps, fashion knit caps, and TA issued winter hats without a logo.

“I do not believe it to be unreasonable to ask that City agencies respect the practices of different religions by not directing that in order for an employee to retain his or her job, he or she must forgo a particular religious creed and violate a religious mandate,” said Council Member Weprin. “As John F. Kennedy said, we must ‘make the world safe for diversity.’ That I believe is the purpose of this legislation and larger task of this City Council.”

“There are turban-wearing Sikhs fighting side by side with American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the army of Great Britain. If a Sikh can fight and die with American troops in Iraq, they should be able to police New York City’s streets,” said Amric Singh Rathour [pictured], a NYPD traffic enforcement agent who filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD after being fired for refusing to remove his turban. “ I was delighted to win my lawsuit, but I hope no New Yorker has to go to court again to serve his or her city,” said Mr. Rathour.

“My supervisor tried to physically place a Transit Authority logo on my turban,” said Brijinder Singh Gill, a former TA Station Agent who decided to quit his job as a result of the incident. “I never felt so humiliated.”

“There is nothing about a turban or a hijab that stops one from being a great police officer or transit employee,” said Amardeep Singh, Legal Director of the Sikh Coalition. “ New York City is the world’s capital. Our city agencies should have uniform policies that reflect the city’s diversity rather than rejecting it. We welcome a bill that will require city agencies to evaluate employees on their ability to do their job, rather than their religious headdress.”

DNSI     direct link     0 comments   Email post: 

Post a Comment

<< Home

About DNSI

The Discrimination & National Security Initiative (DNSI) is a research entity that examines the mistreatment of minority communities during times of military action or national crisis.

More Info:
DNSI Home Page

The Blog

Why a Blog?
The purpose of this web-log is to offer news and commentary in a fluid, dynamic format while our more substantive reports are forthcoming.

Recent Posts
French Muslim Leaders Issue Fatwa Against Rioting
Paris Riots Reflect Social, Not Religious, Grievan...
Senate Votes to Limit Rights of Guantanamo Detaine...
Khalsa Assault-Hate Crime Trial: More Details of K...
ABA on the Graham Amendment Regarding Jurisdiction...
Update: Senate Votes to Deny Terror Suspects Right...
Interfaith Youth Leader on NPR's "This I Believe"
Despite Long History, Stockton Sikhs Feel Misunder...
Institute Studies Arab-Police Relations in Yonkers...
Senator: Bar Terror Suspects from Federal Courts

04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009


Religious Diversity News-Pluralism Project

Into the Whirlwind
Human Rights in India
Ethnic Confusion Britain
Anil Kalhan
Sepia Mutiny

Feeds, etc.

(c) 2005 Discrimination & National Security Initiative 1531 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02138