Friday

23rd Aug 2019

Sikhs denied entry to European parliament

A group of Sikhs invited to the European Parliament to discuss freedom of religion, were not allowed into the parliament building because they were each carrying one of their religious symbols, a dagger.

A planned meeting that had to discuss 'Freedom of Sikhs in Europe to practice their faith,' was cancelled, as the majority of the Sikhs wanting to participate were denied entry into the parliament as they were wearing a Kirpan.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Kirpan, a ceremonial religious dagger, is meant to symbolize a Sikh's duty to fight against oppression.

It was only after some hours and the intervention of various MEPs that 12 out of the 150 Sikh visitors group were granted access to the parliament.

"The Sikhs came from all over Europe to get parliamentarians to understand religious and cultural reality," said British Labour MEP, Neena Gil.

"It's a great shame that parliament responded to draw this bridge on religious tolerance," Ms Gil added.

Britsh UKIP MEP Derek Clark said that he will be demanding an apology for the Sikh community.

"I will be writing in the strongest terms to the European Parliament protesting at what seems quite apparent to be racist behaviour on the part of the European Parliament," he added.

Jaminder Singh, from the British young Sikhs, said that religious symbols are fundamental for Sikh followers.

"I was very disappointed and very upset especially from the European Parliament as it shows ignorance and inconsistency in countries across Europe," he added.

"Every person, individual, must be able to express religious freedom." said Mr Singh.

"The freedom of Sikhs in Europe to visibly practice their faith is a major concern. For the last years the right to wear Sikh turban in France, schools, and when obtaining documentation such as passports, have been challenged by authorities," Mr Singh remarked.

The visitor groups included Sikhs from France, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Investigation

The EU committee's great 'per diem' charade

Around 30 members of European Economic Social Committee, who live and work primarily in Brussels or nearby, have claimed €1.47m in a 'daily subsistence' allowance from European taxpayers to cover accommodation, food and local transport for meetings held in Brussels.

EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests

The EU, in league with Canada, has spoken out on the Hong Kong protests after months of silence in what one expert called "a clear expression of support for the protesters".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us