EP member decries ruling barring Kirpan-wearing Sikhs

November 12th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Nov 12 (IANS) A British Member of the European Parliament (EP) has deplored an EP ruling denying a delegation of Sikhs wearing ceremonial kirpan entry into parliament as security risk and has launched a parliamentary group on treatment of Sikhs in Europe, EUAsia News reported.”This new parliamentary group is intended to look in particular at how Sikhs are treated within Europe,” Lyz Lynne was quoted as saying by the Parliament.com website Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, it would seem that we do not have to go very far to find examples of the discrimination that many Sikhs face everyday,” said the Liberal Democrat MEP for West Midlands.

“This is the third time that leading Sikhs have been denied entry to the parliament due to their wearing the ceremonial kirpan dagger. The kirpan is seen as an article of faith by the Sikh religion, and not as a weapon,” she said.

Lynne is a member of EP’s subcommittee on human rights and has campaigned on a number of Sikh issues.

“I am deeply disappointed that the European parliamentary authorities refuse to recognise the right of Sikh people to wear the kirpan. The kirpan is not a weapon, it is a religious symbol. This is not a question of security but one of religious freedom,” Lynne said.

“In the UK, the right to wear the kirpan is enshrined in law. This includes allowing Sikhs wearing the kirpan to enter the Palace of Westminster. Therefore, I do not see why the rules should be different in the European parliament,” she added.

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