Monday

27th Mar 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Analysis

Lukashenka: End of an era?

The political spring in Belarus ended just as the actual season began, but greater changes loom after 23 years of dictatorship.

Poutine s’immisce dans l'élection française

Poutine a traité la leader anti-UE Marine Le Pen, comme si elle avait déjà remporté la présidentielle. "J'ai mon propre point de vue, qui coïncide avec celui de la Russie", a-t-elle affirmé.

Putin mischt sich in französische Wahlen ein

Putin behandelt die französische Anti-EU Präsidentschaftskandidatin Le Pen, als ob sie die Wahlen bereits gewonnen habe. Le Pen: "Meine Sichtweise… ist identisch zur russischen."

Investigation

How the Italian mafia found a Dutch home

One of the biggest mafia trials in Europe in recent years is about to end. Members of the Crupi clan are accused of smuggling vast amounts of cocaine from South America to Italy, using the Netherlands as their main hub.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  2. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  3. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  4. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  6. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  7. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  8. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  10. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  11. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  12. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People