Sikh man loses right to wear turban in driving license photo after EU court ruling

A Sikh man who wanted the right to wear a turban while being photographed for his French drivers’ licence has lost his case in the European Court of Human Rights.

Shingara Mann Singh, a French national, lost a series of appeals in France against the authorities who refused to issue a new license with a photograph of him wearing a turban.

Under French regulations, motorists must appear ‘bareheaded and facing forward’ in their license photographs, but the Sikh religion requires men to wear a turban at all times.

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Sikh men admit arson attack on Muslim family

Three petrol bombers have admitted an honour attack on a Swindon family. Sandip Rooprai, 20, Jasdev Dogra, 18, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons pleaded guilty to twice attacking the home of Alpona Begum in Swindon. They also launched another arson attack on a house in Bristol, and set light to a parked car close to their Swindon target.

The men threw Molotov cocktails through the front windows of the home because Miss Begum knew that Rooprai’s Sikh sister was dating a Hindu man. They also bombed the Bristol home of Kamlesh Vyas, the priest believed to have married the pair. At an earlier hearing, Swindon Magistrates’ Court was told by prosecutor Stacey Turner: “Bangladeshi Muslim Alpona Begum was a good friend of Pardeep Rooprai, the sister of the defendant. They were friends at college and would talk to each other. It was clearly a very strong friendship and the friends shared intimate secrets.”

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Sikhs hold peace march to protest against French turban ban

Although the 2004 French law banning obvious religious signs in public schools was significantly aimed at Islamic head coverings, the law is also forcing Sikh students to choose between removing their turbans or being expelled. Two days before French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected in New Delhi, protestors took to the streets to demand that the ban on school children wearing turbans in France be revoked immediately. They said they will also appeal to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also a Sikh, to raise the issue with Sarkozy during his upcoming visit. Wearing a turban is an article of faith for Sikhs, adherents and are required by their religion to have their hair covered. The small Sikh community in France has recently been caught in legal duels with the French government on this issue.

A French Sikh Refuses to Remove Turban for Drivers License Head Shot

By St_phanie Le Bars The United Sikh Association, which represents the Sikh community in France, has announced, Monday, June 11, its intentions to file a plea in the European Court of the Rights of Men against the French law to achieve religious freedom. The lawyers of the Association, active in many European countries, are defending the case of a 52 year-old French Sikh who authorities refused to grant a drivers license without the removal of his turban for the license photo. According to Sikh tradition, men do not cut their hair and wear it wrapped in a large turban on the head.

Hate Crimes Soar In Wake Of Bombings

By ANWIL DAWAR in London RELIGIOUS hate crimes have soared by almost 600 per cent in London since the July 7 bombings, it was revealed yesterday. Scotland Yard figures show 269 crimes, motivated by religious hatred, have been reported since the suicide attacks. That compared with only 40 in the same 3 1/2 week period last year. The figures include minor assaults, abuse in the street and by email and criminal damage to property, including mosques. In the three days after the bomb attacks, there were 68 such crimes in the capital compared to none in the same period 12 months ago. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said most of the incidents were minor, but had a great “emotional impact” on communities. “It can lead to these communities retreating and not engaging at a time when we want their engagement and support,” he said. Police officers have stepped up patrols and are working with community groups to reassure Muslims. It is not thought the incidents are part of a concerted campaign. Finsbury Park mosque, which has made a break from its associations with such radical clerics as Abu Hamza, has received more than 30 threatening phone calls in a fortnight. The first place of worship to be attacked after the bombings was a Sikh temple in Erith, south east London. Jagtar Singh of the Sikh Federation said: “We have had numerous reports of race-hate crimes targeting Sikh taxi drivers, bus drivers and even tube workers who interact with the public in providing essential services.” Police, in general, have been praised by Muslim groups for their attempts to stop any racist backlash and protect Asian communities following the bombings. Officers are having to deal with the difficult task of defeating terrorism while, at the same time, facing accusations young Muslims are being targeted in stop-and search operations. Home Office Minister Hazel Blears has said Muslims would not be discriminated against by police in the battle against terrorism. She insisted officers’ actions would be “intelligence led”. British police yesterday released another man who was detained in connection with the failed July 21 bomb attacks on London’s transit system. A police spokesman said officers were continuing to question 16 suspects. Of the 37 people detained over the attempt to set off bombs on three subway trains and a double-decker bus, 21 no longer were being held. British authorities say those still in custody include three of the failed bombers. They are trying to extradite the fourth suspected attacker, Hamdi Issac, from Italy, but his lawyer said Italian investigations could delay any extradition to Britain.

It’s Hindus Versus Muslims In Uk Polls

By RASHMEE ROSHAN LAL LONDON: Here’s a hard, ugly fact: Just three four days to Election Day and Britain’s Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims are flexing lingual muscle, the only political organ in an Asian body made up of an estimated three-million people. But, here’s the beautiful fiction: the Asian vote can make or break disparate British politicians in at least 60 constituencies up and down the country. And another untruth: the Asian political voice is loud and clear and Britain’s politicians would be foolish to tune it out. So, there is lots of talk. Jagtar Singh of the Sikh Federation, the UK’s first and only Sikh political party with aspirations to represent the 336,000 Sikhs totted up by the census, tells TOI: “The Sikh vote matters in about 40 to 50 key constituencies, marginals, where there are a large number of Sikh votes and where there are (Labour) cabinet and junior Ministers that ‘depend’ on the Sikh vote.” Adds Hasmukh Shah of the VHP, which has aspirations to speak for the UK’s 750,000 Hindus, “The Hindu vote matters materially in at least nine key constituencies.” Says Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain, which is urging its 1.2 million co-religionists to ‘Help make the Muslim vote count’: “At least 11 constituencies have the highest Muslim vote. There, they can make a difference.” But here’s the sad reality, says Lord Bhikhu Parekh, leading academic and author of several books on the dilemmas of policy in multi-ethnic Britain.” Britain’s Asian community is politically unimportant. Unlike the Afro-Caribbeans, it has no cabinet or even junior ministers. It has no great leaders. If the Asian community matters, it matters only because of its numerical strength in some areas. At the end of the day, that doesn’t count for much.” Punters agree on the state of Asian political impotence. Many believe Asian political disinterest is starkly revealed by the shocking fact that Asians will not automatically support Asian candidates in at least four key constituencies. Instead, the Asian vote in Gujarati Muslim-dominant Blackburn, Sikh-dominant Wolverhampton South and Edinburgh West and Muslim-Hindu-dominant Leicester South is expected to go to white candidates. Explains Jagtar Singh: “I know we have Sandy Parmar, a Sikh woman married to a Hindu, standing in Wolverhampton South. But she is not a practising Sikh. The Sikh community would be loathe to lose its sympathetic MP, the Labour incumbent Rob Marris. He has done a lot on Sikh issues. Sikhs don’t care if their Wolverhampton South MP is Sikh or not. They do care that he is interested in Sikh issues.” Says Baan Singh, who is visibly disinterested in co-religionist and incumbent Leicester South MP Parmjit Singh Gill, “He may be one of ours, but what will we gain from voting for him?” Adds Zafar Sareshwala, a businessman from Ahmedabad, whoruns a financial services company in the Gujarati Muslim dominant north-western English constituency of Dewsbury, “It’s interesting that Gujarati Muslim Imtiaz Ameen, who is challenging Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the Gujarati Muslim-dominant Blackburn constituency, may even lose his deposit. Gujarati Muslims would prefer to vote for the man who has done something for them, rather than voting for just another Gujarati Muslim.” Parekh says the palpable Asian disaffection with Asian candidates stems from the complete failure to make a mark by the seven Asian MPs in the last parliament. Says Parekh, “Out of all the Asian MPs, everyone who claims to speak for the community, there has been no political heavyweight, no one who could justifiably be seen as the Asian Paul Boateng.” Many agree Britain’s Asians are very far away from producing a Paul Boateng, Parekh’s reference to the articulate, highly-educated, urbane Afro-Caribbean Labour cabinet minister now destined to be Britain’s high commissioner in South Africa. Boateng is close to Tony Blair and enjoyed a glittering career as a lawyer before he rose to the very highest ranks of government. Laments Sareshwala, “the Asian marginalisation has happened because the British Asian is too preoccupied with making money.” He insists: “If UK Muslims, or British Asians as a whole want to matter, they have to adopt the Jewish model of empowerment. They need to get into important positions in the media. They need to join political parties at university level. The educated and talented Asian needs to go into politics rather than only trying to become rich.” But still the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim drumroll continues: make your vote count because it can make or break the government. Reading between the lines, that may be the British government of 2050, not the one elected in 2005.