A SIKH member of the Garda Reserve is banned from wearing his ceremonial headdress, the turban.
Integration Minister Conor Lenihan last night backed up the Garda Siochana ruling, saying immigrants to this country must accept our culture.
Minister Lenihan said he has discussed the Sikh case with the Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy.
The gardai are currently forming their views about ethnic forms of headgear for members of the force and the reserve.
As turbans are worn by Sikh police officers elsewhere, most notably the London Metropolitan Police, a compromise may be reached.
Sikhs wear turbans to cover the long uncut hair worn as a sign of their commitment to their religious faith. The turban is a headdress consisting of a long scarf-like single piece of cloth wound round the head or an inner hat.
While acknowledging the issue of the turban is important for the Sikh community, the Minister supported the garda stance. "If we are to take integration seriously, people who come here must understand our way of doing things. When the President and Ministers travel to the middle-east, they accept cultural requirements of the country and the culture they are operating in. It is a vice versa situation with regard to Ireland."
The Sikh man is an IT professional, who decided to join the Garda Reserve.
Minister Lenihan said the general trend was towards wearing the designated uniform. [Link]
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